Sweet Irish Soda Bread
Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe – Two tender loaves of slightly sweet soda bread are speckled with raisins and caraway for the perfect Saint Patrick’s Day treat. Enjoy with a generous pat of butter any time of day!
My husband and I eat at an Irish pub every Saint Patrick’s Day. The first year we did this, we ended up in a little pub in Tulsa, Oklahoma called Paddy’s.
If I remember correctly, we ate fish and chips and Irish stew. Yet what really caught my attention was the soda bread. It was moist and dense with a slight sweetness that didn’t overshadow the soda flavor and a hearty crust… I’ve been working on a comparable recipe ever since.
Sweet Loaves of Irish Soda Bread
While I like the appearance of the free-form, cross-topped, savory versions of soda bread, I prefer the sugary note and texture of “loaf pan” varieties.
The flavor of this Sweet Irish Soda Bread recipe gently balances strong, savory Irish dishes. It’s a rustic quick bread, with a surprisingly delicate and slightly sweet taste.
This is no utilitarian loaf. It’s a loaf with a sense of warmth and personality. Juicy raisins and vibrant caraway seeds make each slice a surprising treat, perfect for saying “goodbye” to winter and welcoming the spring season.
After testing numerous dry, crumbly versions, I believe I’ve finally found a winner.
This Sweet Irish Soda Bread, adapted from Brother Rick Curry’s The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking, is delightful and just as I remember it so many years ago.
What You Need to Make Our Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- All-purpose flour – sifted
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Unsalted butter – cut into small cubes
- Buttermilk – for a substitute you can use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar mixed with 1 cup of regular milk for each cup of buttermilk needed
- Raisins – I recommend a mixture of dark purple and golden raisins
- Caraway seeds
- Turbinado sugar – raw sugar for sprinkling on top; you can use brown sugar if turbinado is not available
How to Make This Perfectly Sweet Soda Bread with Raisins
The first thing you’ll want to do is soak the raisins in hot water for 15-20 minutes and then drain them well.
Soaking in hot water rehydrates the raisins, which will make them plump and perfectly juicy. Be sure to dry them thoroughly though, so you don’t add extra moisture to the soda bread batter.
Once you’ve got the raisins just right, you can make the bread with these simple steps and just one bowl:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease two loaf pans with butter.
- In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients (everything except for the turbinado sugar). Next, use your hands to mix in the cubes of butter until the flour mixture is grainy.
- Stir in the drained raisins and caraway seeds.
- Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture, and stir well until the dough resembles a thick cake batter.
- Equally fill the two loaf pans, and generously sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar.
- Lastly, bake the loaves for 60-70 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. They will look golden brown.
When done, allow cooling in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool. I know it’s difficult because they will smell amazing, but wait until they are cooled before slicing!
Get the Full (Printable) Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe Below. Enjoy!
Traditional Irish Soda Bread Tips
To take it to another level, serve this Sweet Irish Soda Bread warm with rich, tangy Irish butter from a specialty food market.
Enjoy with a good cup of strong coffee for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or a delicious, slightly sweet dessert!
NOTE: Buttermilk can have different consistencies, depending on the brand. If your dough is thicker than dense cake batter, don’t worry! Just form dough into loaves and place it in the pans. No need to add more liquid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Omit the Raisins and/or Caraway Seeds?
You definitely can! Your bread won’t be quite as sweet without the raisins, but neither they nor the caraway is necessary to make this soda bread recipe.
Is it Possible to Make Just One Loaf of Bread?
Absolutely. Simply halve the recipe ingredients, and bake your one loaf for 50-60 minutes.
Half a loaf is better than none. – Irish Proverb
Can this Soda Bread be Made Gluten-Free?
Yes! Swap your favorite gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour. For flavor and texture, I recommend an almond or coconut-based flour instead of rice flour.
How Long Will This Bread Last?
This bread can be stored at room temperature for up to 2-3 days or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. You can even freeze this recipe for up to 3 months and thaw in the fridge or at room temperature. Reheat as desired.
Looking for More Perfectly Sweet Bread Recipes?
- Kahlua Banana Bread
- Fresh Berry Focaccia Bread Recipe
- Hawaiian Luau Bread
- Drunken Monkey Bread Recipe
- Irish Soda Bread with Cherries and Granola Top
- Chunky Chocolate Banana Bread
- Lemon Blueberry Muffins Recipe
- Perfect Homemade Sopapilla Recipe
- Chocolate Cinnamon Toast Recipe
Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter two 9×5-inch bread pans. Soak the raisins in hot water for 15-20 minutes, then drain well.
- Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut the butter into cubes and mix very thoroughly with the flour, by hand, until it looks grainy. Stir in the drained raisins and caraway seeds.
- Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture. Stir well. The dough should resemble thick cake batter. Equally fill 2 loaf pans. Then sprinkle the top of each with turbinado sugar to make it shimmery.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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