Celebrating March with the comforts of Irish soda bread

From shamrock-decorated hats to green-colored beer, everyone wants to celebrate Irish traditions this month.  So, what’s another fun way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day?

Baking Irish soda bread, of course!  It’s easier than you might think.  There’s no need to knead, and with a few basic ingredients, you can have a warm, crusty loaf.

At Bredenbeck’s Bakery in Chestnut Hill, the baking crew is doing just that. Karen Boyd-Rohde, owner of Bredenbeck’s, says the bakery always features holiday-centric baked goods. “We celebrate all holidays here – Passover, Easter, Saint Paddy’s Day,” said Boyd-Rohde, ” it’s always a party at Bredenbeck’s.”

Boyd-Rohde says their recipe is unique because it is softer than most soda breads. “Our soda bread is lighter than your traditional soda bread – it’s very pleasant with or without butter.”

 

Bredenbeck’s Irish Soda Bread:

 

5 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup (1 stick) room-temperature unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 1/2 cups raisins

3 tablespoons caraway seeds

2 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 large egg

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10 or 12-inch diameter skillet with 2-inch high sides. In a large bowl, whisk together the first five ingredients. Using your fingers, rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add egg mixture to crumb mixture, stirring until just combined.

Transfer dough to prepared skillet. Smooth the top of the dough, making a bit higher in the center. Dip a sharp knife into flour, then use it to cut a 1-inch deep X on the top center of the dough.

Bake about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool in skillet for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature.

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