Last St Patrick’s Day I happened to be in Northern CA visiting my fabulous friend Barb and she made this recipe for us (Su and Nancy were on this trip with me). We woke up to the delicious smell of bread being pulled from the oven.
She raved about how easy the recipe was, we raved about how delicious it was. She sent a loaf home with us which I shared with my family and they raved. My brother wanted the recipe so she sent it, I don’t know if my brother ever made it but I’ve probably made it about 20 times since then.
This is a very flexible recipe. It calls for currants, since they’re similar to raisins and I’m not a huge raisin fan, I use all kinds of other dried fruits, my favorite was apricots with pecans but I’ve also added craisins, cherries black walnuts, chocolate chips (my nephew loves those) and blueberries. With the apricots I cut them into pieces. Today I used frozen blueberries since I have a freezer full of berries I picked over the summer. Like I said, a flexible recipe. I also usually use whatever zest I have on hand, orange, lemon or lime. The hardest part about this recipe is keeping buttermilk on hand for when I feel like making it. I googled how to make home made buttermilk
when I don’t want to go to the store.
Irish Soda Bread (link to original recipe)
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 baking sheet with parchment paper or spray cooking spray.
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. (The butter is hard to mix in, I usually stir in and then by hand crumble the butter and flour together.)
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. (This keeps the fruit from sinking.) 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.
My brother suggested I should make scones using this recipe. I was like, what the heck, I’m game. All I did was flatten the loaf a little and cut the dough into wedges. Sometimes I make this recipe and it’s a really wet dough but for some reason today it was dry so it was super easy to cut up. It’s normally a messy process. Place them on a cookie sheet and spread them out. I change the cooking time to 20-25 minutes. For smaller scones divide the dough in half. I always set my timer for the lowest amount, you can always cook more. If you do smaller scones start checking at 18 minutes.
I actually prefer the scones over the bread. It rises more and it will be one of the most moist scones you’ll ever have. It’s like you’re eating cake, but you’re not! These are amazing out of the oven with some butter. I don’t add any butter when it’s cooled but nothing beats warm baked goods out of the oven with butter.