A slice of tender, faintly sweet soda bread is one perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I brought half this loaf to a friend. She and her daughter hid it from the rest of the family and happily split the bread over the course of a day. To me, that means this recipe is a keeper! As with most soda bread recipes, the dough can be made in just a few minutes. Mix briefly using a light hand until ingredients just come together and you will be rewarded with a beautifully browned loaf of tender bread in about an hour.
I loved the bright flavor of lemon butter on warm bread. My husband thought it was a bit too sweet. My advice? Whip the butter with lemon zest and juice until fluffy, then taste it. If you find it to be too tart (as I did), add a bit of sugar. Otherwise, skip the sugar and enjoy the spread as is on your bread. I also served the bread with delicious Cranberry Curd and Peach-Ginger Jam that I have been hoarding from my visits to the Chicago Food Swap.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Irish Soda Bread with Raisins / Lemon Butter Spread
Adapted from epicurious.com Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway
- 2 ½ cups flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into about 8 pieces
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350. Butter an ovenproof skillet (10-12inch diameter – I use one from All Clad). Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub cubes of butter into flour mixture until it is crumbly. Stir in raisins. Whisk buttermilk and egg together. Add buttermilk/egg to flour mixture, stirring only until combined. I usually start stirring with a large rubber spatula, but dig in with my hands at the end to incorporate the last bits of flour without over-working the dough.
Bake bread for 45 minutes until it is deep brown on the top. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on a rack. Soda bread is usually best eaten the same day it is made, however, this one stays fresh a bit longer since it has a good amount of butter in it.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used Kerrygold Irish Butter)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ½ lemon, zested and juiced. I used my microplane to zest the lemon.
- 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
In a medium bowl, whip butter with salt, lemon juice and zest. Start on low speed until the juice is incorporated into the butter. Don’t use a small bowl unless you want to be spattered with lemon juice and flying butter – it will take a minute or two for two to combine. Taste whipped lemon butter. If it is too tart for you, add one tablespoon of sugar and whip until light and fluffy. If you like the bright lemon flavor, skip the sugar. Serve butter at room temperature.