The Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe - Grand Central Bakery

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The Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Fresh buttermilk, rich butter and gentle mixing make this tender Irish Soda Bread irresistible. Photo by Caroline Lubbers /

Irish Soda Bread is the kind of recipe that makes you fall in love with baking.

The recipe is not fussy or demanding. It’s quick and easy to make, with basic ingredients you likely have on hand. And the results are absolutely delicious.

A few tips for getting the most out of our recipe: Use well-chilled butter, and work quickly so it doesn’t warm up. Prep all of your ingredients before you begin. Do not overmix the dough; be sure to stop just as it starts to come together.

People love this slightly sweet, crumbly pastry flavored with currants, orange zest and caraway, and for good reason. It’s less rich and not as sweet as a scone – the perfect breakfast when you can’t decide between bread or a pastry. Despite some vocal protests by loyal customers, we only have Irish Soda Bread on our menu in March around St. Patrick’s Day.

We share this recipe (which you’ll also find in The Grand Central Baking Book) so you never have to go without.

Grand Central Bakery Irish Soda Bread 

Makes 8 large pieces

4 cups (1 p0und, 4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped orange zest
3/4 cup (3.5 ounces) currants
3/4 cup (6 ounces or 1 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (9 fluid ounces) buttermilk
Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt, whisked until combined)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl with high sides or the bowl of stand mixer and whisk to combine. Stir in the caraway seeds, orange zest and currents.

Dice the butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Use your hands or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer on low speed to blend the butter into dry ingredients until the texture becomes mealy. If you want to finish baking the soda bread the next day, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight; otherwise proceed with the recipe.

Add 3/4 cup of the buttermilk at once, mixing just until the dough comes together, 30-35 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides to incorporate dry ingredients, then stir in enough buttermilk to bring the dough together. You may have buttermilk left over.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 chunks. Gently shape the chunks into domed disks and score each one into quarters.  Place on the prepared pan and brush liberally with egg wash.

Bake for 30-35 minutes rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The soda bread should be shiny and golden brown. To serve, cut or pull the disks apart where they were scored.

From the Grand Central Baking Book