Irish soda bread is a quick and easy recipe because you don’t have to wait hours for yeast to leaven the dough. The baking powder and eggs do all of the work to help make the dough to rise providing instant gratification with minimal time. This year for Saint Patrick’s Day, I decided to add a sweet twist to the traditional Irish soda bread recipe.
In recent years I used a base consisting of whole wheat, bread and all purpose flour, yogurt and baking soda. The recipe was rather simple and yielded a dry and chewy texture which is perfect for dipping into the liquid from boiled corned beef. I was inspired by The Lovely Pantry’s recipe for Irish soda bread that incorporated currants and a sugar glaze. For this Irish soda bread recipe I added sweet dried cherries and slivered almonds for additional crunch to the delightfully sweet bread.
The Irish Soda bread had a wonderful delicate texture, it had attributes of a biscuit exterior and scone interior. The combination of sweet and tender cherries with the subtle crunch of the almonds was lovely. The bread was amazing eaten warm with a pad of butter. I served the Irish soda bread with my baked honey mustard corned beef, and Irish coffee profiteroles with chocolate whiskey sauce for dessert for a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration feast!
TIP – This Irish soda bread recipe yields a bread with more of a biscuit-like texture versus a traditional chewy and harder crusted bread. Butter is used in the recipe which is different than traditional Irish soda breads. When water and flour is mixed and manipulated, gluten bonds form, giving you an elastic network and stretchy dough. When a high amount of butter is added into the dough, and incorporated into the flour, the fat coats some of the proteins in the flour. The fat prevents gluten bonding from happening as easily, gluten stands are formed, but to a much lesser degrees. The texture is much more delicate and crumbles much easier, similar to biscuits or scones.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated Sugar
- ¾ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- ¼ cup dried cherries (substitutes: raisins, cranberries, currants)
- 2 tablespoons almonds, blanched and slivered
- ⅓ cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon milk
- ½ egg, whisked
- Sugar glaze: 1 teaspoon sugar dissolved in 1 teaspoon hot water, microwaved for 20 seconds.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into mixing bowl, stir to combine.
- Using your fingers, break the chilled butter cubes into small pieces into the flour mixture until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
- Stir in dried cherries and almonds.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg until frothy (discard half of the whipped egg).
- Add yogurt and milk to the egg, then whisk to combine.
- Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture, then stir to combine.
- Remove the dough from bowl and add to a well floured surface. Knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until fully combined and forms a ball.
- Form the dough into a ball and cut into 2 even pieces.
- Roll each piece into a ball. Cut a shallow X into the surface of the dough ball.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper greased with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place the two doughs rounds on the tray at least 3 inches apart.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the surface is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the dough comes out clean.
- Remove the bread from the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack.
- Make the sugar glaze by combing the sugar and hot water, then microwaving the mixture for 20 seconds.
- Brush the tops of the bread while still warm.