Exotic Irish Soda Bread

I never said my timing was the best, and here’s proof. The slew of (worthy and admirable) bloggers who posted Irish Soda Bread recipes right around St. Patrick’s Day have the pulse on reality. I tend to float on a breeze when it comes to food. To me there’s nothing wrong with pumpkin-anything in the spring or summer, and I love a hot cup of tea no matter what the temperature outside. To this jumble, consider also that in the Age of Covid (which includes, in theory, more time for baking), I sometimes want to take my time with food, relishing the luxury to experiment and play, and I sometimes still (just like in the old days) want E-A-S-Y, as in I-have-other-things-to-do.

In my favor today is the fact that you are probably not presently inundated with Irish Soda Bread recipes, and you might be inclined to want something E-A-S-Y, so maybe you’ll try this delicious flavor blend of exotic + sweet. Are we still allowed to use the word exotic? That’s not one of the off-limits words now, is it?

Caraway seeds add the exotic element that sets this version apart from the rest. Even though these pungent little buggers are often associated with rye bread, I find them equally at home in this soda bread recipe – though how many Irish people would consider them an essential or even authentic ingredient is anyone’s guess. Currents add a bit of sweetness. You can’t go wrong with a bit of sweetness. Feel free to use regular raisins instead, or golden raisins, or the dried fruit of your choice.

My thanks go to Inge White, a lovely lady who lives in Fairfax, Vermont, who passed this recipe to me years ago. I have made it countless times, which puts it on the tried-and-true list among other essential yummies that never go wrong (assuming you are paying attention during the process and don’t forget something important). Thank you, Inge! Another Vermonter gets a shout-out today too. Lyn Boyce, the woman I want to be like when I grow up, subtly suggested on the phone the other day that she would like to see more recipes. I hope you like this, Lyn!

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In case you can’t read my handwriting, that’s

Mix together 3 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 3 tablespoons caraway seed, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ box raisins (which is about 1 ½ cups, and this is where I substitute currents or golden raisins). Add 2 cups milk and 2 beaten eggs (I don’t beat them before adding them). Bake in two greased loaf pans at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

How simple is that? Mix dry ingredients together, add milk and eggs, stir and bake.

Speaking of buggers though, one thing you have to get past is that the caraway seeds do look kinda like little bugs in the bowl. (You may recall my aversion to bugs from my Always a Menace post.) If these seeds had legs I would be creeped out, but they don’t, so I can deal.

Instead of two loaf pans, I chose one loaf pan, two mini’s and one oddball thin-wooden loaf form lined with parchment paper. The oddball is going in a birthday package to my son in San Francisco. He is also getting my granola, cranberry brownies (best brownies ever), shortbread cookies (better than any in a tin), chocolate-chip-pecan-espresso biscotti (pecans instead of walnuts this time) and pumpkin-oat-chocolate-chip bread (if you want the recipe for this, ask). In this Age of Covid you somehow can’t get eggs in San Francisco, which means that Drew and Nicole have not been able to bake much. And I’m the mom here, the mom with chickens who give good eggs, so…

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One little loaf disappeared before it even cooled down. Try slicing it, toasting it and spreading butter on top. A piece of toast like no other! Enjoy 😊

8 thoughts on “Exotic Irish Soda Bread

  1. I agree with Lyn, it’s always fun to see what you have been cooking. Recipes from friends and family make trying a new one much more fun. I don’t recall eating currants so I had to Google it, I’ll have to try them with this recipe. I hope I can find them in my grocery store (if not I see Amazon has some)

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  2. I Found the currants at my grocery store just where you said they would be. I made two loafs of your Irish Soda Bread this morning and it was delicious. Ate three slices with a little butter while it was still warm out of the oven. The balance of the currants and caraway seeds is delightful. Thanks again.

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