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Easy Irish Soda Bread with Currants (and Irish Soda Bread Pudding)

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You only need five ingredients and one bowl to make this easy traditional Irish Soda Bread! Whether you make it with currants (my favorite), raisins, dried cranberries or plain, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Then, if you’ve got leftovers, make my one bowl Irish Soda Bread Pudding – it makes a delicious dessert, afternoon snack or breakfast. Both recipes are below!

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I used to buy fresh Irish soda bread every March at our local co-op. But the past few years I’ve been making it at home. It’s so easy – only 5 ingredients! – and SO delicious right out of the oven with a thick layer of homemade cultured European butter or even homemade clotted cream.

My favorite way to make soda bread is with currants (I make my British scones with them, too) but you can substitute raisins if you prefer. Or even dried cranberries! Or just make it plain if you don’t want a sweet soda bread. It’ll be delicious no matter what.

What You Need to Make Traditional Irish Soda Bread with Currants

You only need 5 simple ingredients:

  1. Flour
  2. Baking soda
  3. Salt
  4. Buttermilk (see below if you don’t have any)
  5. Currants, raisins, dried cranberries, etc (optional)

This bread requires no eggs or added sugar! The dried currants or raisins add a touch of sweetness to the bread.

All you do is mix everything in one bowl (I just got these glass mixing bowls and LOVE them) and then bake in a dutch oven!

Buttermilk or No Buttermilk?

Irish soda bread is a quick bread, which means there’s no yeast and you don’t have to let it rise before baking. Instead, buttermilk and baking soda cause the bread to rise.

If you don’t want to buy buttermilk (or don’t happen to have any on hand when you’re itching to make Irish Soda bread right now), here’s what you can do:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar with the 1 3/4 cup milk needed for this recipe. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before using.
  2. Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice with the 1 3/4 cup milk needed for this recipe. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before using.
  3. Thin yogurt or sour cream with some milk until you have 1 3/4 cup total.

I don’t always have buttermilk in the fridge, so I use alternative #1 and #2 most frequently. I haven’t yet tried alternative #3 but I will next time I make this recipe because I almost always have yogurt.



How to Bake Your Irish Soda Bread

I bake my bread in my very favorite kitchen tool – my round Le Creuset dutch oven. I invested in one several years ago (Christmas present from my husband) and I LOVE it. I use my dutch oven nearly every single day. No joke! I just leave it on my stove at all times because I use it so frequently. It cooks and bakes evenly, washes up easily, and lasts forever.

Even better? Le Creuset offers a lifetime warranty! Several months ago, the inside of my dutch oven started flaking off. So I mailed it to them (they recommended using a flat rate box with insurance, which was about $20US, I think), and a couple weeks later they mailed me a replacement. Turns out the reason for the flaking off was actually my fault (I’d used too high heat they said), so I was super impressed (and SO grateful) that they sent me a replacement. And I’m being super careful with my new dutch oven! I’m a Le Creuset fan for life and am now planning to invest in one or two more quality pieces.

Click here to read more reviews and check the price on Le Creuset’s awesome dutch oven!

Tip: get the stainless steel knob instead of the plastic on your dutch oven lid. With the plastic handle you’re limited as to how hot your oven can be. I wish I’d thought about that! Fortunately, it looks like you can order a stainless steel replacement knob! *BRB…off to put in my Amazon order…*

And if you’re looking for a great baking gift, check out this Celtic Irish Soda Bread baking dish. This baking dish with a jar of homemade soda bread mix would be a welcomed birthday, shower or holiday gift.

The EASIEST Irish soda bread with currants!

See the butter in the photo above? That’s fresh, homemade European cultured butter. It pairs extremely well with this Irish soda bread.

Making homemade butter is super easy – just add buttermilk to heavy cream, let it culture in a jar for 12-36 hours, and then churn it using a mixer. Be sure to make your homemade butter a few days before you want to eat your soda bread.

Bread and butter…so simple, so good!

If you don’t inhale the entire Irish soda bread loaf the same day you make it, sprinkle a little water on the bread and cover with a tea towel to keep it fresh. Or use the leftovers to make Irish Soda Bread Pudding! Scroll down for that recipe – it’s so good!

How to Make Irish Soda Bread with Currants

First, mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Then add the dried currants and mix with a wooden spoon.

Pour buttermilk into the mixing bowl and stir until it starts to form a dough.

Then lightly knead the dough a few times. You can knead the dough on a lightly floured surface (I often use my marble pastry slab or my silpat baking mat). If your mixing bowl is big enough, you can knead it right in the bowl.

Form dough into a round and place in a dutch oven. Use a sharp knife to make two slices in the dough as pictured below.

Bake covered at 400F / 200C for 30 minutes. Take the lid off and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes. Depending on your oven, you might need to bake your bread a little longer. The internal temperature on an instant-read thermometer should be about 180F (82C) and the top should be golden brown.

Tip: If you find your bread stuck to the bottom of your dutch oven (that happened to me once when I baked it uncovered longer than usual), place the lid back on the dutch oven for a few minutes. The steam created from the hot bread should loosen it up enough to unstick the bread. If your bread has already cooled a bit, turn the oven off and place the covered dutch oven back in the oven for a few minutes.

I like to brush the top of my bread with a little melted butter (just place a few pieces of butter on top of the fresh-out-of-the-oven bread and it will melt). Let your bread cool on a wire rack (I’m loving my new copper Nordic Ware wire cooling grid!), then slice and enjoy!

Be sure to check out my one bowl Irish Soda Bread Pudding recipe below! It’s the perfect way to use up leftover soda bread and makes a delicious dessert, afternoon snack or breakfast. Yuuuuum!

Easy Irish Soda Bread with Currants

Easy Irish Soda Bread with Currants

Yield: 1 round loaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

All you need is one bowl and 5 simple ingredients to make this quick and easy traditional Irish bread!

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups [500-600g] flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup [150g] dried currants
  • 1 3/4 Cup [14 ounces / 415 ml] buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. Add dried currants and mix with a wooden spoon. 
  3. Add the buttermilk (or alternative - see note) and mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a sticky dough. 
  4. Knead lightly in the mixing bowl or on a floured surface until it forms a round loaf. It will start out sticky and crumbly but after you knead it a few times, the dough will come together.
  5. Shape dough into a round and place in a dutch oven with a lid.
  6. Cut two criss-cross slices into the top of the bread with a knife (see photo above). 
  7. Bake covered for 30 minutes at 425F and then 15 minutes uncovered. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Be sure to check your bread in case it needs to bake longer - mine wasn't quite done at 45 minutes. 
  8. Let bread cool on a wire rack, then slice, and enjoy with freshly made European cultured butter!

Notes

Buttermilk alternative: mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar with 1 3/4 cup fresh 2% milk and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Or thin yogurt or sour cream with some milk until you have 1 3/4 cup.

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Easy Irish Soda Bread Pudding with Currants, Apple and Pecans

Got leftover Irish Soda Bread? Looking for a quick dessert, snack or sweet breakfast? Make this super easy Irish Soda Bread Pudding!

I made this bread pudding with half a loaf of Irish Soda Bread I’d made the day before and added apples, cinnamon, and pecans for extra flavor. I’m not even a huge fan of bread pudding but I really liked this one and will definitely make this again!

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How to Make Easy Irish Soda Bread Pudding

The first step is to chop the soda bread into bite-sized pieces. I used half a loaf of soda bread with currants that I’d made the day before. You can use any type of soda bread in this recipe. If you use a whole loaf, just double the rest of the recipe.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk milk, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the cubed soda bread, mix well, and let it sit for about 10 minutes so the bread soaks up the custard.

Add chopped apple and pecans and stir well. Pour into a loaf pan. Cut the butter into small pieces and place on the top of the bread pudding. Bake at 350F (175C) for 30-40 minutes.

Let cool for a couple minutes. Serve plain or with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or caramel sauce. Enjoy!


Irish Soda Bread Pudding with Currants, Apples and Pecans

Irish Soda Bread Pudding with Currants, Apples and Pecans

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Irish soda bread pudding is quick and easy and makes a delicious dessert, snack or breakfast!

Ingredients

  • 5 Cups Irish soda bread with currants (chopped)
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 Cup whole milk (half and half or heavy cream also work)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Cup apple (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
  2. Cut Irish soda bread into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Chop apples and pecans.
  4. Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl to form a custard.
  5. Add Irish soda bread. Stir well. Let rest for 10 minutes so the custard soaks into the bread.
  6. Add chopped apples and pecans. Stir well.
  7. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
  8. Cut the butter into small pieces and place on the top of the bread pudding.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

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