Our Irish Soda Bread fans are a fiercely loyal bunch. Less rich than a scone and not as sweet, it’s the perfect breakfast when you can’t decide between toast and a pastry. It’s only available in March, around St. Patrick’s Day. We share this recipe so you never have to go without.
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