Old fashioned whole wheat Irish soda bread that tastes like a mix between cinnamon raisin and rye bread. Perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day!
A few years ago, I did Ancestry DNA and found out that I’m 31% Irish/Scottish! This seriously explains so much – like my fair skin, my childhood obsession with butter (I used to eat it plain) and my life-long love for potatoes.
As soon as the results came in, I immediately started brainstorming all sorts of the Irish recipes that I could put an EBF spin on, LOL. Cabbage soup, Shepherd’s Pie, any and everything with potatoes . . . so that’s where the idea for an Irish soda bread recipe started.
I’ll blame my newfound Irish heritage on this question . . . first things first, it’s called soda bread because traditionally, it’s made from just baking soda, flour, soured milk and salt. It is a traditional Irish dish and still very prevalent in Ireland! Have you ever had it?
There are a ton of different ways to enjoy Irish soda bread! My favorite way is to warm it up in the toaster/toaster oven and spread butter, jam or nut butter on top. You can also use it for salad croutons or enjoy a slice with soup or stew . . . the options are endless. I think I’m going to whip up another batch of this bread for a festive St. Patrick’s Day breakfast!
To make the classic Irish soda bread a bit healthier, I used a mix of whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour, which is lighter than regular whole wheat. Of course, if you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour, regular all-purpose flour will work great.
I also made my own non-dairy buttermilk by adding apple cider vinegar to almond milk. This is a technique I learned a few years ago and it works like a charm. The apple cider vinegar gives the milk a tang similar to buttermilk and it also helps make the bread rise by activating the baking soda.
Overall, making soda bread isn’t intimating at all – even cutting in the butter isn’t a big deal. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, no worries because there are many pastry cutter substitutes! You can use a fork, your food processor or a cheese grater to cut the butter into small pieces and incorporate it into the dough.
Once your dough is ready, you simply form it into a rounded, disk-shaped loaf a few inches thick and 7 to 8 inches wide, place on a prepared baking sheet and bake. It bakes for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and crisp on the outside and and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
I have to say that I LOVE this bread. It’s a little on the dry side, but that’s the way Irish soda bread is supposed to taste, and the sweetness from the raisins mixed with the caraway seeds make it taste so good. I basically ate a whole loaf to myself in 2 days. 🙂