July 16, 2012

Cranberry (Chocolate?) Irish Soda Bread

I missed a day!! How did that happen?! ACK!! Oh well... I have great excuses, I promise! These painkillers and I aren't getting along very well. So it's a good thing I have the perfect recipe saved up, one that I am so familiar with that writing a post with half a brain will still turn out pretty well! I got this recipe from my Mom, no idea where she got it. It is one of the very few baked treats that Stephen actually requests on a regular basis! AND, it's simple and easy!

Irish Soda Bread
Printable Recipe

3 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
5 Tb. butter, COLD, cut into tablespoon-ish chunks
heaping handful craisins, currants, raisins, etc. (We even tried chocolate this time!)
1 1/4 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, powder, soda, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. (I made 2 loaves, because Stephen wanted to try chocolate in one. I just divided the ingredients as I went!)
Using pastry cutter, knives, or fingers, cut butter into flour until no chunks are larger than a pea.

Stir in craisins (etc). Using rubber spatula, stir in buttermilk until dough comes together and no dry bits are left in the bottom of the bowl.

Shape gently into low, round loaf. The dough is pretty soft, so dust the outside with flour to help shape it. Cut a + in the top.

Bake for 1 hour (40-45 min for 2 loaves), until toothpick stuck in top comes out clean. Serve warm!!
This bread is somewhere between a biscuit and a scone. More cakey than a biscuit, not quite as sweet as a scone, the top is all crusty and crumbly and this bread goes with ANYTHING. Serve it with dinner or as dessert! I always have buttermilk in my fridge, for this and biscuits. 
Served warm with some melty butter on it... absolute heaven. Heck, just make it plain if you want!! We love it. Oh, and the general consensus was that while chocolate was yummy in this, it was unnecessary. But you can do whatever you want with it!
See? I told you not all my recipes would be complicated!

*Tip, Tricks, and Tools*

Since this post is pretty short, I'd like to start a section I plan on doing from time to time, with tips, tricks, and tools in the kitchen that I just can't live without. This recipe perfectly showcases two of my favorite kitchen tools: my pastry cutter and parchment paper!!
Pastry Cutter: this nifty little tool is a MUST if you ever plan on making a pie, biscuit, or...well, soda bread!! Cutting cold butter into dry ingredients for a biscuit, for example, assures that the butter won't melt for a bit while baking. It makes the texture fluffier and more tender, gives you little buttery bits throughout, and is essential in making flaky pie crust! Lots of people use food processors for cutting in butter, I like the hand method better, I feel like food processors cut the butter a bit too fine. Pastry cutters are easy to use, very inexpensive, and you will wonder how you ever baked without it, I promise!
                                       Parchment Paper
Parchment Paper: I learned this one from my mom. Pretty much anything you bake, you can line with parchment paper! Line a cookie sheet instead of spraying it; not only do you not need to wash the pan after (gasp!) but you can fold up the paper and use it again and again! I usually end up using my papers 3-4 times. Lining cake pans helps cakes come out easier, and I learned the most fantastic trick from Marie from the English Kitchen: line your loaf pans, with extra sticking out, like a sling... And your loaf pops right out!! I do this every time now, and it is HEAVEN. So! Works better, is re-usable, decreases clean-up time! It's right next to the aluminum foil, go get some. 


  1. I think I got this recipe from our neighbors in Colorado... The Scheiks... I also have a recipe for Irish Soda Bread that I got from Yvonne Kirshner, who really is 100% Irish. She is the one that tried opening an Irish bakery in Salt Lake City. Her recipe is more traditional, uses fresh whole wheat, lemon juice instead of buttermilk, no raisins.. dried currants are the authentic addition. It isn't nearly as yummy, but really "healing" and good for you. This is one recipe that I dig my baking stone out for. I rarely use the baking stone for anything else these days. A remnant from the Pampered Chef craze.

  2. I'd love more suggestions on what to add to this. I'm not a big fan of craisins or raisins. Could I do jam instead of something chunky? Are dried fruits best, rather than something like chopped fresh strawberries? I've always wanted to try a soda bread, but I've never known what to put in it instead of cranberry.

    1. Fresh fruit has too much liquid. Nuts, chocolate chips, or dried fruit is pretty much it. Or just make it plain, and spread it with butter and jam! I love it plain :)


Your comments really DO make my day, and I promise to try and reply to each and every one, either through email or on here :)