Irish Soda Bread (with Gluten-Free Adaptation!)

posted in: Learning | 2

bphotoart-irish-soda-bread-recipe-To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we often bake Irish Soda Bread. This family recipe is one I grew up with, and I’m pleased to tell you my boys love it too.

When I take my Irish Soda Bread to potlucks or dinner parties, I’m usually asked for the recipe at least once (if not more than that). People love it. I’m not sure if it’s the crispy-crunchy exterior, or the soft dried fruit, but this Irish Soda Bread is definitely something you’ll want make again.

Plus, it’s really easy to make!

Some Irish Soda Bread recipes call for complicated processes or ingredients you probably don’t have on hand (ex: buttermilk? how many of you have that in your fridge? I know I don’t!).

This recipe uses the basics:

  • milk
  • flour
  • sugar
  • dried fruit
  • salt
  • baking soda
  • oil
  • lemon juice (to sour milk)

See what I mean when I say it uses kitchen staples?  I bet you have all this stuff in your kitchen too.

And shhh… don’t tell, but if I don’t have sour milk, lemon juice, or the time to let it sour naturally, I just use straight milk without a second thought.  Oh, and another variation that’s tasty?  Subbing out the milk for milk kefir!

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Now, let’s get down to business. Toby likes to help make Irish Soda Bread almost as much as he likes to eat it. So, I’ll be sharing some pictures of what it looks like to bake with a toddler (who loves to measure and dump).  I love cooking in the kitchen (or, as is the case, baking in the kitchen) with little ones.  There are so many teachable moments, and the whole process is really a fun activity for kids who want to be “big helpers.”  Toby helped stir, read numbers on the measuring cups, measure and dump ingredients into the bowl, …you get the idea.  And, of course, what kitchen activity is complete without a taste tester?  Kids love to taste test things they’ve had a hand in making.

So here’s what we did (read the captions for each picture, or scroll to the end for the text recipe).  Click on any image to enter gallery view mode.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4c. Flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. soda
  • 2/3 c. oil
  • 1 c. raisins/craisins
  • 1 c. sour milk

Directions:

[to make sour milk, leave out all night or place 2 T. lemon juice in measuring cup, fill with milk, let clabber.]

Mix flour, sugar, salt, soda. Add raisins, then oil, then milk. Blend until forms a ball, shape into flat load. Brush with oil or milk. Bake at 350 F for 35-45 min.

Kitchen Tools:

None of these are required, but having the right tools for baking does make life easier.  While making our Irish Soda Bread, we tested out some kitchen utensils that I had received for review. I was pleased with how all three #afflinks: a Danish dough whisk (ingenious kitchen utensil, by the way, if you bake you’ll want to get one!), an oversized pizza cutter (I’m all for cutting flat breads and baked goods with a rotary knife), and silicone baking mats (non-stick, easy clean up, and eco-friendly. My kind of product).

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Feel free to use my Amazon affiliate links below… and check out some of the other reviews if you want to get a more well-rounded idea of how these kitchen tools measure up.

  • BakeitFun Silicone Mat – use a silicone mat on your cookie sheet for easy clean-up and as an eco-friendly alternative to parchment paper. I love how versatile these mats are — you can use them for everything from baked goods to roasted vegetables… or even in the freezer!
  • Pizza Cutter – you’re probably familiar with a pizza cutter’s standard purpose, but did you know it works really well for scoring cracker dough, cutting flat breads like this recipe, or even brownies?  I kid you not.  This oversized 3.5″ pizza cutter is sharp and rolls smoothly 🙂
  • Danish Dough Whisk (mixing by hand) or Kitchen-Aid 6-Qt. Stand Mixer – With a more robust dough like in this recipe, you’ll probably want a stand mixer to blend things into submission (we love our Kitchen-Aid).  But if you’ve never tried a Danish dough whisk, you should give one a shot.  I was actually thrilled with how well it blended the ingredients — even though this Irish Soda Bread dough is kind of “tough” to stir by hand, with the dough whisk, it was much easier.  I doubt I’ll bother to get out the stand mixer next time, but intend to reach for the dough whisk — and that should tell you something.

A Bit of History

So, if you’re wondering the history behind Irish Soda Bread, it became popular during the potato famine, apparently.  I was inspired to share one of our favorite kitchen activities (baking Irish Soda Bread) thanks to Vicky at Mess for Less – she shared their version of Irish Soda bread (which is much fluffier!) along with an anecdote about how the cross on the bread was meant to ward off evil.  Things I did not know!

Update: Another Variation

I have successfully tried a few other variations of Irish Soda Bread.  Sometimes my substitutions are logical, like spelt flour for flour.  Other times, it’s more of a recipe re-invention.  And that’s what this one below is.  I was out of flour and oil (woah, crazy!), but had a box of gluten-free bisquick in the pantry…and we always have butter on hand.  Since I’d promised to bring Irish Soda Bread to a potluck, I decided to give things a shot, after googling “Bisquick Irish soda bread” and finding this Bisquick Irish soda bread recipe.  So here’s my adaption.

Gluten-Free Bisquick Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. gluten-free Bisquick
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 6 T. butter, melted
  • 2/3 c. sour milk
  • 2/3 c. dried cherries

Directions

  • Combine Bisquick and sugar in bowl.
  • Separately, combine butter and milk, then add to Bisquick mixture.
  • Add dried cherries, and mix well.
  • Press into flattened oval shape on silpat covered baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

I tasted the dough before putting it in the oven, and aside from the textural difference from gluten-free flour, it definitely had the characteristic Irish Soda Bread taste.  I’ll update this post (again) once I know how well the finished product goes over.

Note: I received one or more of the products mentioned in this post for free in exchange for an honest evaluation and review.  The opinions expressed are 100% my own.


Creative-Activities-for-Kids-Monthly-Blog-Hop-300x300Creative Activities for Kids Monthly Blog Hop

Below you will find fabulous creative activities for kids– this month’s theme? Creative St. Patrick’s Day Activities for Kids.

2 Responses

  1. Looks yummy. I didn’t know soda bread had dried fruit. I am going to have to check out that dough whisk. I love kitchen gadgets! Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday linkup. So excited to have you start hosting with me tomorrow. Pinned to our linkup board.

    • Betsy Finn
      | Reply

      Well, I’m not sure if it does traditionally, but the recipe I grew up with does!

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