Irish soda bread is a staple in my household – not because we’re Irish, but because it is so easy and a total crowd-pleaser. As far as I understand, it is not really an Irish food but an American invention reminiscent of wheaten bread, I gleaned from my real Irish neighbor as he nibbled on the batch I made this afternoon. This recipe freezes well and thus makes a great all-around snack, for hikes and afternoon coffee breaks at work. After cooling, wrap individual pieces in aluminum foil. No need to reheat in the oven, just let thaw for a few hours before eating.
The key to cooking the perfect chewy, crunchy, crisp Irish Soda Bread is the pan. While any size or shape glass dish or brownie-type pan will do, a stoneware baking dish is the best because it cooks evenly and perfectly. This recipe is an adaptation from Mary Burke’s Irish Soda Bread recipe published in the Boston Globe Taste section in 2006 and the King Arthur Flour’s 200th Anniversary edition cookbook recipe. It yields one large loaf (9×5) or about 8 small loaves.
- 8 Tablespoons butter @ room temperature
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup sugar + little more for sprinkling
- ¾ teaspoons baking soda
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
- ¼ cup water
- 1 c. dried fruit (a mix of raisins and cranberries is my favorite)
Set oven to 350 F.
Butter or spray the baking dish(es) with canola oil
In large mixer or bowl: mix the flours, 1/4 cup sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix into the dry mixture with fingertips.
In another bowl: stir together water, yogurt and egg.
Mix the wet and dry mixtures together well, stir in the dried fruit.
Transfer to pans, dividing evenly, sprinkle tops with a little sugar.
Bake 40 min or until tops are golden, and a knife or toothpick comes out clean.
Originally posted on thefreshdish.com on March 15, 2010