A Spicy Perspective

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 anytime of day!

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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… I’ve been working on a comparable recipe ever since.

sweet irish soda bread

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 hearty, with a surprisingly delicate and slightly sweet taste.

This is no utilitarian loaf. It’s a quick-bread 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.

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What You Need to Make Our Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe

  • All-purpose flour – sifted
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • 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
  • Egg
  • 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

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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 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:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease two loaf pans with butter.

2. 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.

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3. Stir in the drained raisins and caraway seeds.

4. Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture, and stir well until the dough resembles a thick cake batter.

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5. Equally fill the two loaf pans, and generously sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar.

6. Lastly, bake the loaves for 60-70 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

When done, allow to cool 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!

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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!

Get the Full (Printable!) Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe Below. Enjoy!

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Sweet Irish Soda Bread Recipe Q&A

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 a rice flour.

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5 from 18 votes
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Sweet Irish Soda Bread

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Sweet Irish Soda Bread - Two tender loaves of slightly sweet soda bread are speckled with raisins and caraway for the perfect Saint Patrick' Day treat.
Servings: 2 loaves

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter two 9x5-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.

Video

Notes

NOTE: Buttermilk can have different consistencies, depending on the brand. If your dough is thicker than dense cake batter, don't worry! Just shape it into loaves and place in the pans. No need to add more liquid.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 220kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 226mg, Potassium: 233mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 175IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 1.8mg
Course: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Irish
Author: Sommer Collier

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33 comments on “Sweet Irish Soda Bread”

  1. I’ve been searching for a tender, moist, sweet soda bread and this exceeded mine and my husband’s expectations. I used half raisins half currants but otherwise followed the recipe. AMAZING.

  2. Yes I did   It was a success   First time Ibaked anything I’m 65 years old  I’m quite proud of myself   The recepie was very easy to  follow ! I’m Hooked  thanks!

  3. Great recipe!

  4. Brother Curry’s Isish Soda Bread is my family’s favorite. I lost my copy of the recipe do was so happy to see this.

    Thank you

  5. This is perfect with St Patty’s day coming up! Love all the Irish recipes i’m finding. this one is especially great!

  6. I love this recipe. I hope you will keep continuing to share such yummy recipes with us. T

  7. I make this every year and it’s always perfect!!!

  8. Soda bread is one of our favorites! So easy to make! Your loaves look incredible!

  9. Pingback: Bangers and Mash with Milk Stout Gravy {Sausages and Mashed Potatoes} • The Fresh Cooky

  10. This was the best soda bread ever! I omitted the caraway seeds because I dislike them, and I didn’t have turbinado, so I used light brown sugar on top. I also didn’t have buttermilk, so I made some using skim milk and lemon juice. I also cut the recipe in half to make just one loaf and baked it for an hour. Yum! So sweet and moist. Would make a great breakfast bread. I really liked this a lot.

  11. I love Irish Soda Bread! When I read your recipe I immediately thought…”what! a no-knead Irish Soda Bread?”. Well, I made it yesterday and I must say it is the best Irish Soda Bread I have ever tasted!!!! Must admit also to a couple changes….I reduced the sugar just a bit – more like 2/3 instead of 3/4 cup….I used currents instead of raisins and no need to soak them as the buttermilk plumps them just fine. That’s it. Lovely texture and the first time making this bread in a load pan but I like the idea; love the results! Thank you.

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  13. I just made this recipe today for St Patrick’s Day (couldnt locate the recipe I usually use).  It was amazing, moist and sweet but not too sweet.  I had to omit the caraway seeds because I can’t eat them, but other than that, the recipe was perfect.  My family and some friends have already tried it and loved it. 

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  15. I tried your recipe yesterday and my bread turned out perfect! I used less raisins than the recipe called for because we don’t love them that much. The caraway seeds ad a delicious flavor. I will never be able to eat grocery store Irish soda bread ever again. Thank-you for a great recipe.

  16. They will love it! It’s so yummy ; ).

  17. Sounds delicious. I am going to try and make these in muffin tins. Hope they turn out well.

  18. Noticed your comment about eating at Paddy’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  We are from Tulsa, now in Houston.  We still feel like it is home in a lot of ways.   Do you live near Tulsa?  Just curious Sommer.  
    Thank you for your posts and Blog!

  19. Pingback: 17 St. Patrick's Day Desserts That Celebrate The Luck Of The Irish In The Sweetest Way

  20. Love it . Thank you for the recipe  :)

  21. Sorry, I just saw the liquid in the middle of the recipe.

  22. You don’t say how much or what type liquid to soak the raisins in. Clarification please.

  23. Just took my loaves out, cooled them and ate a piece slathered in butter (the way I remember eating them).
    I have not had Soda Bread in more years than I can remember, great recipe!
    Thank you very much!

    Guy~

  24. Made this today in 4 smaller loaf pans to go with our late St Paddy’s dinner. Was loved by all. Hubby who doesn’t like raisins is raving and had several pieces. Friends took home loaves for tomorrow. Thanks

  25. getting ready to make this, but am concerned about the 2 teaspoons of baking powder for 5 cups of flour. I have a recipe that calls for 1 tablespoon to 3 cups of flour and it’s been a family fav for years now.

  26. I love this recipe. I think the buttermilk and the egg are what makes this version so fun to eat. I have used it approx. 12 times and I get lots of compliments each time. Delicious!

  27. Pingback: Sweet Irish Soda Bread — A Spicy Perspective | Really interesting recipes | Scoop.it

  28. Ok, my husband tried printing on his mac and was able to reduce the size to one page by editing out the pictures and intro. I had the print function setup this way so everyone could choose what they want to print. Try editing something out and let me know what happens. Thanks Catty!

  29. Having problems printing out recipes… could be I'm on a mac. The aren't compact enough for one page. What do you think?

  30. This looks great!