St. Patrick’s Day has been a favorite holiday of mine since elementary school for one reason: Irish soda bread. As a child, March meant copious amounts of the slightly sweet, dense bread because many of the Irish kids were tired of their moms’ baking. Normally, in elementary school, this sort of thing requires a fair trade for whatever was in your lunch bag. Come March, I didn’t even need to trade anything for it; they just gave it to me.
Since then, I reward myself with this easy-to-make bread once a year. The treat can be served for either a brunch at home or as a filling dessert. Because of the baking soda, there is no need to wait impatiently for the bread to proof, which is perfect for an impatient gal like me.
I have made a few versions of this recipe; however, I always add a mix of sweet golden raisins and the standard raisins. I’m not a huge sweet person so the raisins are like sweet jewels as you enjoy the bread.
Once it pops out of the oven, I throw any notion of portion control out the window, eat half within the first day, and then ration the remaining half for the rest of the week. Because the bread is sweet, it pairs great with Irish breakfast tea or Irish coffee. This recipe is easy enough that drinking Irish coffee while you bake is another option as well. The simplicity of the recipe makes it my go to St. Patty’s Day party recipe, easy to make and easy to pack.
• 4 cups flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 1/4 cup softened butter (1/2 stick)
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 egg
• 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, raisins, butter, honey, and egg. Gradually stir in the buttermilk until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball.
3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead gently a few times. Then, form dough into a ball.
4. Cut an X into the dough, about 1/4 of an inch deep.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is dark golden brown.