As we inch closer to Saint Patrick's Day, Irish Soda Bread's popularity rises. Soda bread is attributed to Native Americans who would make a soda leavened bread with pearl ash, a soda made from wood ash. Around the mid 19th century, soda bread became popular in Ireland, but they used baking soda (bicarbonate) instead of pearl ash.
Irish Soda Bread does not contain a multitude of ingredients. In fact, the beauty is in the simplicity. The ingredients are flour, buttermilk, golden raisins (sultanas), eggs, sugar, butter, baking powder, and baking soda. That's all you need for our Irish Soda Bread recipe. Traditionally, recipes only called for flour, baking powder, buttermilk, and salt. You might call our version a "tea cake," but no matter what, it tastes great!
Some people like to add caraway seeds or some may omit the sultanas - regardless of your preference, soda bread is always great with butter and/or jam. If you're not looking for a sweet preparation, Irish Soda Bread is also perfect along side hearty stews. The delicate sweet & tangy soda bread offers a lovely contrast to many stew's richness.
The unique flavor of Irish Soda Bread has much to do with science. The chemical reaction between the buttermilk and baking soda is the reason the bread rises and why it tastes the way it does.
We suggest slicing and toasting Irish Soda Bread to your liking, but you can also enjoy it thawed at room temperature. While Irish Soda Bread is most popular in March because of St. Paddy's Day, it is delicious any time of year.