Irish-American Soda Bread

Irish-American Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf.

This soda bread recipe includes caraway, much loved by Irish-American bakers. Caraway is a member of the carrot family (as are parsley and dill) with a flavor that combines herbal, licorice and citrus notes. It’s been used in cooking and medicine for at least 5,000 years!

If you’re not a fan of caraway, omit it and try adding a pinch of fennel pollen or substituting wild black fennel seed for the caraway.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon (scant) kosher salt
¾ cup currants
1 lemon, zest
2 teaspoons caraway seeds, lightly toasted
1 large egg, room temperature
1¾ cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Grease and flour a 9”x 4” metal loaf pan. Set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use a whisk to fluff them. Add the currants and zest to the bowl, stir to mix through. Lightly crush the caraway seeds between your thumb and forefinger, adding them to the bowl as you do. Stir to mix through.

Whisk the egg into the buttermilk and add, all at once, to the flour mixture. Immediately add the melted butter. Use strong, swift strokes to combine the wet and dry ingredients, stopping when the batter is barely mixed together — over-mixing will toughen the loaf.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of your spoon or spatula. Bake for 45–50 minutes until the top is golden brown and a skewer stuck into the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, before turning the loaf out onto a cooling rack. Cool for at least 30 minutes longer to 'set' the crumb before slicing.


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