Irish Soda Bread is a quick bread, its name is given due to the use of baking soda instead of yeast which is more common with breads. This history of Irish Soda bread dates back to the early years of the European settlers in the Americas. The settlers and Native Americans use soda or pearl ash as a leavening agent in making quick breads.
Soda breads began in the mid-19th century when baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) first became available. Soda bread became a popular staple item in Ireland, Scotland and Serbia. This quick bread begins to leaven very rapidly with the addition of buttermilk (or yogurt) that reacts to the baking soda. Minimal mixing is required, unlike a yeasted bread giving quick results.
Today, Irish Soda Bread is commonly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day. America has definitely adapted this classic bread to a slightly sweeter version than the original with the addition of a variety of items: sugar, raisins, caraway seeds, butter and more. While I’m sure the traditional version is amazing, this is a more American version that ties closely to the Scottish method of Irish Soda Bread.
I am pretty sure I have no Irish or Scottish roots in my blood, but I did marry into it! My husband, has the hair of an Irishman, his family roots definitely stem from Eastern Europe. Once we were married, it became tradition that I would cook the perfect St. Patrick’s Day meal: corned beef and cabbage and of course tons of Irish Soda Bread!
We have been married 14 years and I’ve held true to that tradition every year. This recipe comes straight from my mother-in-law, it’s even hand-written on a notecard. She gifted it to me before moving out to Portland, she wanted to be sure her son got his Irish Soda Bread and I had the right recipe to make it.
This bread is very easy to make and really should made throughout the year. It is really a delicious morning breakfast raisin bread. My kids adore it and we definitely go through many loaves this time of year.
I made some slight adaptions and decided to cook these in my Finex Cookware10″ skillet. The results are amazing, the cast iron keeps the bread moist and tender and yields a crispy top, perfect for snacking. I know many methods bake these breads free form on a sheetpan, but cooking in a vessel really makes a huge difference and keeps the bread nice and tender.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! As always, I love seeing your creations! Be sure to tag me on Instagram or Facebook. xoxo, Cosette