Irish Soda Bread

1 loaf
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup dried currants

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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    222 Reviews
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    Amazing!! Crunchy and salty on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside!!
    Fabulous! Follow the directions to the letter and you will not be disappointed. I added currants, raisins, and cranberries. Simply Fabulous Barefoot Contessa!
    DELICIOUS! Also good for French toast yum.
    Simple recipe, but oh so delicious...
    This id the best thing I have made in a good long time. Thanks Ina!!!
    The absolute BEST soda bread we ever had, hands down. That cast iron skillet and hint of orange is just perfect.
    This makes a large, dense loaf. Very good, and truly even better toasted the next morning.
    Great, easy recipe for soda bread. I substituted the currants for raisins and used low-fat buttermilk (that's all they had at my store -- gasp!). I made this for a family St. Patty's day celebration and it got rave reviews from all. It was a big loaf, but we ate it all. I wish I would have made a second.  
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    for God sakes people follow the recipe... this was amazing as is
    I tried making soda bread for the first time using this recipe because it didn't have yeast so I wouldn't have all that kneading and rising time. Plus, it would go well with my St. Patrick's Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage. And yes, I realize corned beef and this recipe are not traditional Irish recipes. Like many reviewers, I substituted raisins for the currants. The dough is really, really wet and sticky and looks more like oatmeal cookie dough. Use a WELL FLOURED board to knead it! I used low-fat buttermilk which another reviewer thought should reduce the amount being called for in the recipe. I might try that next time to see if the dough is less sticky. Anyway, the loaf wasn't pretty but it tasted good. My husband liked it and wants me to make it again. In my book, that counts as a success.
    OMG... the best Irish soda bread ever. I baked 4 loaves over the weekend, to give to family and friends, everyone raved how delicious it was. Thanks Ina for such an easy recipe.
    I baked this for my husband and his Irish family for St Patrick's Day. They all raved, and said that it was the best soda bread they have had. I added a bit more orange zest and substituted plumbs and cranberries for the currants. It looked like it could have been from a bakery. :-)
    This was wonderful! I added a little bit extra on the buttermilk, and it was a sticky mess, but dusting with the flour and rolling into a ball worked fine. I couldn't find currents at the store so I used 1/2 cup golden raisins. LOVED it. My husband is a picky eater and he thought it was great but wished I had the currents (will use them next time). The orange zest is crucial to flavor, don't omit or substitute that. 
    It makes a HUGE loaf, so I will cut recipe in half next time, but we will definitely make it again. Keeper!
    I made it for St. Patrick's Day to go with the corned beef and cabbage. Delicious!!! Will definitely make it again! I used raisins instead of currants - if you don't have time to go out and find the dried currants, raisins will work.
    Delicious! Best Irish Soda Bread I've ever made. My husband said it was better than his Irish grandmothers!
    Not sure what went wrong. Had to make my own buttermilk with regular milk and vinegar. It came out of mixer a wet gloopy mess. Couldn't form into a loaf, but poured it into a loaf pan, and it came out very tasty. Would like to have formed it on the sheet pan like Ina did. Any advice?
    I didn't have any buttermilk (and neither did my supermarket!) and I forgot to buy oranges... So I added the juice of a lemon to 1.5 cups of 2% milk and allowed it to sit for 5 mins until it curdled. I had a mixture of assorted dried fruit for fruitcake, which includes some candied orange and lemon so I substituted that for the currants. Also, all the Irish Soda Bread that I have ever eaten was always made of Stone Ground Flour, so I substituted 2 cups of stoneground flour for 2 cups of all-purpose flour. 
    It looks awesome... It's still too hot to cut into, but I have high hopes! Looking forward...
    Came out as pictured! Easy yet sticky, and very good.
    Delicious!! Came out perfect - great addition to our corned beef and cabbage St. Paddy's Day dinner!
    Agreed, not the real Irish Soda Bread but delicious. 
    I replaced 1 cup of flour with whole wheat flour and I threw the currants at the beginning with the flour when mixing with the butter. Came out perfect.
    This bread recipe is amazing and so easy. It doesn't matter if it is not authentic Irish. It tastes way better than the traditional Irish bread. I changed it up by using 1 tsp of pure Stevia instead of sugar and cruising instead of currants. Yummy! Ina, you are my cooking hero!
    I love Ina, but this is NOT Irish Soda bread! It may tast good, but im giving it a low rating for the mislead.btw corned beef..... NOT Irish!
    Nope, no orange zest in Soda Bread....but otherwise it's not a bad looking recipe
    One may debate whether or not this is traditional Irish Soda Bread, however, why waste the time as this bread is outstandingly delicious. I did not have currents so I used craisins instead and with the orange rind, it is sumptuous, especially with a nice organic butter.
    The bread is tasty, especially with soft butter. It is quite dense though and the crust came out a little hard...
    While it may not be true Irish soda bread, it is delicious. Call it what you want to but bake it. for fcast2127 be sure you cut the X in the dough before baking. That should take care of the crack you get in your bread. Enjoy.
    While it's a delicious loaf of bread it is NOT Irish Soda bread.. Barmbrack ~fruited tea cake but not true soda bread. True soda bread contains only 4 ingredients, flour, buttermilk, salt & baking soda.
    no raisins?
    Raisins are not indigenous to Ireland and were added later when the recipe was brought to this country. Also, the baking method used here is not traditional either. Real Irish soda bread (which only contains the 4 ingredients Debora lists) was baked in a covered pot. What I do is use two layer cake pans. Put the rounded loaf in one pan and invert the other over the top as a lid. The baking method is key to the taste of the bread.  
    I parents are from Ireland, and we lived there for 5 years. She makes hers with raisins sometimes - and they call it Spotted Dick, but I prefer it plain. Sounds like a good recipe, but more like a fruited tea cake, as you say. :-)
    I made this Irish Soda Bread recipe last year using the currents instead of raisins because I had some currents in the pantry that needed to be used up. My family loved it! I will be making this recipe from now on! Thanks Ina!
    I love this recipe. It makes a pretty large loaf so, I'd like to make two smaller loaves. How long would I need to bake it?
    Should I make any adjustments to this recipe for baking at 5,000 feet?
    Yes, I live in Reno, NV and we're slightly over 5,000 ft. Just start checking it for doneness at the 45 minute mark and about every 5 to 10 minutes keep checking until it is the level of readiness you like and then remove it from the oven to cool on a cookie rack or cookie sheet!
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    St. Patrick's Day