Known in Ireland as a Spotted Dog or Railway Cake, traditional Irish Soda bread is a simple table bread leavened with baking soda, generously “spotted” with currants and caraway seeds. This Irish-American version is a touch sweet — not quite dessert but definitely somewhere in between cake and bread. Serve it as you would cornbread: for breakfast, a snack, or side dish.
Begin by combining 2 tablespoons of the melted butter with the buttermilk and eggs.
Whisk well and set aside.
In another large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and caraway seeds.
Whisk to combine.
Add the liquid ingredients and currants.
Mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Grease a cast iron skillet generously with butter. This gives the bread a crisp and golden crust. Don’t worry if you don’t have a cast iron skillet — you can use two 8-inch cake pans.
Transfer the batter to the prepared skillet or pans, smooth with a rubber spatula, and dot the top with the remaining butter.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is golden and slightly puffed. Cool slightly and then cut into wedges and serve. This bread is best served fresh out of the oven, but also stays moist if wrapped in an airtight container.
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Irish Soda Bread
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1-3/4 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups dried currants
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set the oven rack in the middle position.
- Smear 1 tablespoon of the butter evenly over the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet or two 8-inch nonstick cake pans.
- In a medium bowl, melt two tablespoons of the butter and let cool slightly. Whisk in the buttermilk and eggs. Set aside.
- In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and caraway seeds.
- Add the liquid ingredients and the currants to the dry ingredients. Fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top gently with a rubber spatula. Dot the top with the remaining two tablespoons of butter.
- Place the pan(s) in the oven and bake until the bread is puffed and golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan(s) and then cut into wedges and serve warm, or transfer the bread to a wire rack to continue cooling. This bread is best served fresh out of the oven, but keeps well if stored in an airtight container.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. Once it’s completely cooled, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place in the freezer. To reheat, wrap the bread in aluminum foil and warm it in a 350°F oven until hot.