Soaked Irish Soda Bread

Soaked Irish Soda Bread // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers


Whether you really are Irish, or are only Irish for the day, you have to have soda bread with dinner on St. Patrick’s Day. Whether you’re doing the corned beef and cabbage thing, or having a good Irish Stew instead… you still have to have soda bread.

It’s a thing. And it’s delicious. Mmmm… warm bread, slathered in butter. In fact, let’s just skip the corned beef and move straight to the bread.

It actually took me a while to come up with an Irish Soda Bread recipe that I really liked. My husband had a recipe that baked up like a rock. My mom’s recipe was always delicious, but tended to be doughy in the middle. My friend used to follow the Bisquick biscuit recipe, but add raisins. And that one, I have to admit, was pretty good, and pretty easy… but not something I want to use anymore. The Bisquick ingredients list is full of things I don’t want to put in my mouth anymore — think dextrose, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and canola oil. Yuck.

Besides, I take exception to the idea of Bisquick now. I really can mix my own flour and baking soda or powder. And so can you!


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This recipe is for soaked soda bread, in other words, it uses flour that has been soaked in an acidic medium for 8-24 hours. So you have to plan ahead a little. But don’t worry; it’s easy! 🙂

Why Should I Soak my Flour?

Well, because it makes it taste delicious!

But also, because when you soak a flour in an acidic medium, such as buttermilk, yogurt, or lemon juice, an enzyme is released which helps to break down the phytic acid in the grain. According to Nourishing Traditions, soaking grains increases vitamin content, and makes the nutrients in the grains more available.

I recommend that whenever you can manage it (without driving yourself crazy) you take the time to soak your grains before you use them.

Soaked Irish Soda Bread // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers


Soaked Soda Bread Recipe

What you need:

4 cups of flour — I usually use half organic white flour (like this) and half spelt (like this)

1 3/4 cups cultured buttermilk

4 Tablespoons cold butter (I like Kerrygold)

2 Tablespoons organic sugar (like this)

1 teaspoon baking soda (like this)

1 teaspoon salt (I like this kind)

1 cup organic raisins

Soaked Irish Soda Bread // Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

 What you do:

Add the flour to a large bowl; if using two different kinds of flour, stir to combine. Cut the butter into small squares and slices and add to the flour. Use a pasty cutter to cut it in well.

Add the buttermilk, and stir to combine. Try to get as much of the flour moistened as possible.

Place a towel over the bowl and leave it at room temperature for 8 – 24 hours; the longer the better. This is the soaking part.

Once the dough has soaked long enough, remove it from the bowl to a flat surface. The dough should be sticky (strongly consider removing your rings!), but workable. (You shouldn’t need to flour the surface.) Flatten it out.

In a small bowl, combine the baking soda, salt, and sugar. Then sprinkle about half of the sugar mixture over the dough. Kneed the dough until the mixture has disappeared into the dough, about 5 or 6 times.  Flatten the dough again, and repeat with the rest of the sugar mixture.

Repeat the process with the raisins.

Shape the dough into a round lump. Place it in the middle of a slightly greased cookie sheet.

Do your best to carve the traditional “X” on the top of the dough. Because the dough is sticky, this is easier said than done, but it will bake better if you open it up a bit.

Bake at 350 for 30 – 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove to a rack to cool.

Serve with plenty of butter.

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One Response to Soaked Irish Soda Bread

  1. Pingback: My Week on Wednesday, Irish Recipes, and Other Things That are Green » Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

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