Traditional recipes

Irish Soda Bread with Dried Cranberries, Apricots, and Ginger

Irish Soda Bread with Dried Cranberries, Apricots, and Ginger

This bread is wonderful for St. I like to serve it warm topped with plain butter, but you can also simply eat it alone, or toasted with some triple crème brie and a drizzle of truffle honey for something truly decadent.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold butter, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 ¾ cups cold buttermilk,
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup julienned apricots
  • ½ cup crystalized ginger
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon milk (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter and the flour mixture on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk and the egg in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Now add the cranberries, apricots, and crystalized ginger. Mix to combine.

The mixture may seem a bit wet, but dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. You may want to make 2 smaller loaves out of your dough. Place the loaf or loaves on the prepared sheet pan with parchment paper. If using the egg wash, beat the egg and add the milk, then brush the top and sides of the bread. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.


Soda Bread with Dried Cranberries Recipe | Bread Baking

Public Service Announcement: Most Irish soda bread includes raisins. However, I don't like raisins. So if you're lookin' at the soda bread picture thinking that the raisins look suspiciously pink, it's because they are dried cranberries. Use raisins if you prefer.

This is an American-style soda bread. The original Irish soda bread didn't have raisins. Or cranberries. Some American-style Irish soda bread also includes caraway. This one doesn't, but if you like it, feel free to add two to four tablespoons of caraway along with the dry ingredients. You can always go gluten-free with rice flours.

I found one recipe for soda bread that included cornmeal. In fact, it would have made a nice cornbread. Apparently during the famine in Ireland in 1848, the United States shipped dried corn to Ireland. No one knew what to do with it, so they ground it up and made bread. Whether that's true or not, it would be a fine excuse for making cornbread to go with your corned beef.


Irish-American Soda Bread

This makes a medium-sized loaf that four hungry people could easily devour. You could use raisins, dried cranberries or whatever else strikes your fancy instead of the dates and ginger, or just leave them out. This doubles nicely for a crowd: Just make two loaves, or, if you make one big one, increase the cooking time to 50 minutes to an hour.

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped dates (optional)

2 tablespoons finely chopped crystalized ginger (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). Line a baking tray with parchment or a baking mat.

If using the dates and ginger, chop them now and combine in a small bowl with a light dusting of flour to help keep the sticky pieces separate.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and use fingers or a pastry blender to rub into the dry mixture until no chunks remain and you have a uniform texture. (This can also be an also be done in short pulses with a food processor.) Add the dates ginger and mix to distribute evenly.

In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula or wooden spoon. The mixture will be heavy and sticky. Dust your hands with flour and form into a rough ball and place it on the prepared baking tray. Slice an “X” on the top.

Bake for 45 minutes. The top should be golden brown, craggy, and firm. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with butter, marmalade, or whatever else seems delicious.


Expert Tips For Making Soda Bread:

  • Soda bread is very forgiving, and you can make it in one bowl. Preheat your oven, gather your ingredients and your bowl and you will have it in the oven in well under 10 minutes.
  • Parchment paper is key whether you make it in a cast iron skillet (mine is over 100 years old) or in an oven safe pan or even a cake pan. You want to use one of those thing to help it hold its shape. Whichever you choose line it with parchment paper, its fine if it sticks out of the pan. I am never without these parchment paper sheets, they are the best!
  • Always make sure when baking your baking soda is fresh (not more than a month old if opened).
  • U.S. buttermilk does not have the same fat content as Irish, so adding in heavy cream is key.
  • Cranberries are tart, if you want them a little sweeter, cut them in half and toss with a TBS or more of sugar allowing the cut sides to get sugared up a bit (if you have time, allow them to sit that way for an hour or so), then fold them into your batter.
  • Always let the faeries out! Or the devil…whichever theory you ascribe to!! After your batter is in the parchment paper lined pan, take a clean sharp knife and make a cross or X on top.
  • Top the batter with coarse decorator sugar for an extra sweetness, and sparkling crust. The best! You can find them at most craft stores in the baking section or on Amazon. Love this sugar to top my sugar cookies with as well.
  • Bake on the middle rack.
  • Bread is done when a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out mostly clean, not wet.
  • You can bake this as one large loaf or make two smaller ones (it really makes a big loaf!).

Here is the link to my original Irish Soda Bread I would put my Irish Soda Bread up against anyone’s. The TODAY show featured it and once the food editor of the Washington Post, who had a slice at an event we were at together called it “the prettiest Irish Soda Bread he ever saw” I am still smiling!!

I don’t know about you, however as soon as I see that first bag of cranberries in the grocery store in the fall, I buy two right away and keep on buying until the season is over. You can do so many things with fresh cranberries.

If you enjoy them as much as I do, you must make this Nantucket Pie aka Cranberry Pie (which is not a pie at all). This is just SO pretty and perfect for the holiday season, plus its sooo easy to make. (keep that part a secret). Everyone always asks for the recipe.

Also check out my Cranberry Lime Shortbread Cookies, Orange Cranberry Scones and Kale Salad with Goat Cheese & Cranberries. Each of these are festive and perfect for the holiday season.

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Cast Iron Pan – A must for every home cook. Lodge Pans are great and affordable, less than $20 for this pre-seasoned pan, which can last a lifetime and more!

Parchment Paper– the one thing I can not be without, ever! This is pre-cut, which is just so easy & efficient!

This post was originally published December, 2016. It was updated 11/11/20 with new information. This post contains affiliate links which mean if you click on one and purchase my suggested product, I get a payment of a few cents. Nutritional information calculated by a WordPress plugin.


How to Make Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick&rsquos Day

Irish soda bread is popular around St. Patrick&rsquos Day, but it should really be something we make all year round: It&rsquos a quick recipe, meaning you don&rsquot need yeast or a starter or any special ingredients to make it. And it looks super impressive for very little work. You can whip up the dough in just a few minutes, and then all you have to do is wait patiently (for 55 long minutes!) before you have a gorgeous golden loaf. It&rsquos great on its own with coffee or served with breakfast.

In Ireland, Irish soda bread recipes are often made with currants rather than raisins (some Irish people call it &ldquocurrant bread&rdquo), but currants aren&rsquot always easy to find, so this recipe calls for a mix of golden raisins and dried cranberries. You can use any dried fruit you&rsquod like for this recipe, as long as you chop the fruit into small pieces. (Just note that black raisins can get a little dry and bitter on the crust.) The other secret to a great soda bread is to use a mix of all-purpose and cake flour. The texture of the bread is like a cross between a typical quick bread and a scone or biscuit using a little cake flour will give you a lighter, softer crumb in the finished loaf. If you don&rsquot have cake flour, check out these flour substitutes, and use a mix of all-purpose flour and a little corn starch. Baking the soda bread in a cast iron pan will help the bottom get nice and crispy, but you can bake it on a sheet pan lined with parchment, too.

This great recipe makes enough bread for a big family, so you&rsquoll probably have leftovers. Just wrap the remaining loaf in plastic, then toast slices the next day and serve with butter and jam.

Is Irish soda bread really Irish?

It is closely associated with St. Patrick&rsquos Day almost as much as green beer. But, in actuality, the first people to make soda bread were Native Americans. They used a natural form of soda to help make the bread rise without the use of yeast. It wasn&rsquot until baking soda became readily available in the mid 1800s that the Irish began baking it. That&rsquos not to say that it didn&rsquot become a popular recipe for many Irish families&mdashthe humble bread quickly became a household staple across Ireland and there&rsquos even a society to protect the bread's cultural heritage.

What does Irish soda bread taste like?

Early versions of soda bread were cooked in iron pots or on a griddle, which gave them a dense texture and hard crust. The recipe below calls for a cast iron skillet to give the bread that same unique consistency. The bread itself has a mild flavor, similar to biscuits, with a bit of tang from the half cup of buttermilk. The dried fruit also gives it that touch of sweetness.

How do you eat Irish soda bread?

Soda bread is best served warm, right out of the oven, or toasted in slices the next day. You can enjoy it any time of day&mdashfor breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even as a special St. Patrick's Day dessert! It&rsquos great on its own but even better when served with butter and jam. You can also try it with a slice of cheese and leftover corned beef, or serve this hearty bread with one of these soup recipes or beef stew&mdashit's perfect for dunking!


Orange Cranberry Soda Bread

1/2 cup white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sour cream (I use light)
Zest of 1 orange
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan (I use a spring-form pan and grease well with butter).

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients, including cranberries and orange zest.

In a smaller bowl, combine all wet ingredients until smooth.

Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and combine until moistened (dough will be very sticky).

Place the dough in the pan and spread. Cut two slits in the shape of an “X” through the top of the dough.

Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes. You may need to cover the bread with foil near the end of baking to prevent from burning.

Remove bread from pan and allow to cool.


Irish Fruit Soda Bread

A very quick and simple recipe that makes the delicious soda bread sweetened by dried fruit. It’s handy to use up any buttermilk you may have leftover from other recipes and you can shape it into a traditional soda bread or bake in a loaf tin.

I eat it on it’s own but a covering of real Irish butter and a cup of tea seems quite perfect!

To make it a bit healthier, I’ve reduced the sugar quantity (small as it is) and used a combination of wholemeal flour along with the plain flour.


I used dried cranberries this time but the world is your oyster regarding dried fruit with this recipe. Large, sweet and juicy sultanas sharp, sweet & tangy raisins dried blueberries dried cherries dried apricots and if you’re so inclined, add some walnuts or pecans too.

Ingredients:

250g plain flour
150g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (sieved)
3 tsp caster sugar
375ml buttermilk
100g dried fruit of your choice

Preheat the oven to 190C Fan and either grease or line a 2lb loaf tin or line a baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add the two flours, salt, bicarbonate of soda and dried fruit and mix. I recommend using a sieve to add the bicarbonate of soda to make sure it’s properly dispersed.

Then add the buttermilk and mix to a soft consistency.

Next spoon the mixture into your prepared tin or if using a baking tray, turn out the mix onto a floured board and shape into a circle.

Flatten the top of the batter and make a cut in it.

Add some nuts of choice if you want.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes and if the top if getting too brown, then top with tin foil for the last 15 minutes. Insert a skewer in the centre to make sure it’s baked through.

Remove from the oven and the tin and wrap in a clean tea towel till it’s cool. You can then slice the soda bread to serve. It keeps well for the next couple of days in an airtight container.

Bake with love


Irish Soda Bread

I’m a sort of hybrid-mix of Celtic genes. I have family from Wales, Scotland & Ireland, everywhere in Britain except England.

Sadly I seem to have missed out on every accent and have a sort of nondescript, British one…

Anyway! The perks involve killer secret family recipes, like this one for Irish soda bread.

It takes about half an hour to whip up, no kneading, no yeast, no hassle and you’re left with 2 big, comforting delicious loaves of bread. One for freezin’, one for eatin’.

Delicious with a little butter, paté or a good smear of avocado for a quick lunch.

It’s a delicious, healthy loaf peppered with cranberries & pine nuts. This recipe makes two loaves and is perfect for anyone who has never made bread before, trust me this bad boy is worth popping your cherry cranberry for.

1.5tsp bicarbonate of soda (USA -baking soda, not baking powder)

1pints butter milk (if you can’t get buttermilk, you can add the juice of 1 lemon to fullfat milk)

4oz pine kernels 4oz dried cranberries

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/400°F. Add you flour, salt & bicarb to a big mixing bowl.

Throw in your nuts & berries.

Mix together until combined, but not too much you don’t want to overwork it. Once you have a fairly unattractive dough, you’re done. If it’s a bit wet, add a little more flour. Flour a surface and pop your dough onto it.

Roll lightly in the flour, shape into a ball, place onto a baking tray and flatten a little.

Repeat with your second loaf. Cut a shallow cross into the tops. Supposedly this is to keep the devil out (apparently he must love soda bread) but it also helps with heat distribution so don’t skip it.

Pop them into your oven for about half an hour. Just before they finish, wet two tea towels & wring them out so they’re just damp, not wet.

Remove your loaves & wrap them in the tea towels.

This will give you a lovely crust & stop it from getting too crunchy. In the old days you’d walk through the village & see all the cottages with wrapped loaves cooling on the windowsills. When in Rome…


Recipe Summary

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup margarine
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seed
  • 2 ½ cups raisins
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons milk (Optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream (Optional)

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Use fingers or a pastry cutter to press in butter or margarine, like a pie crust. When mixture looks fine and crumbly, add raisins and caraway seeds. Mix together and then add eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream. If mixture is not moist, add milk. Pour into two greased and lightly floured loaf pans or a frying pan.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.


Lulu’s Irish Soda Bread

St Patrick’s day to me conjures up many fun memorable moments. As a kid it was the St Patrick’s Day parade in NYC, wearing all green even down to the elastic in my hair. Trying to find a four leaf clover in our grass, and calling my cousin Patty Powers Smith to say Happy Birthday!

My father always wearing his green hat from Ireland, which now proudly sits a top the bust on my bar in the living room.

Memories are travels for the soul.

Lulu’s Irish Soda Bread
Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk,
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup julienned apricots
½ cup crystalized ginger

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer add the butter and the flour mixture on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour. With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk and the egg in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.
Now add the cranberries, apricots and crystalized ginger. Mix to combine.
The mixture may seem a bit wet but dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. You may want to make 2 smaller loaves out of your dough. Place the loaf or loaves on the prepared sheet pan with parchment paper.
Optional: Brush with egg wash: 1 tsp milk and 1 whole egg mix with fork. This will make your loaf shiny.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
Ideas: All divine!
Serve warm with butter.
Eat plain.
Toast and put a triple creme brie on it with a drizzle of truffle honey.

My favorite butter to use at the moment it Kerrygold. Smother a warm piece of fresh bread with this butter and it is heaven.