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Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway

It needn’t be St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy a traditional Irish soda bread, a tasty quick bread made with both raisins and caraway seeds.

I learned how to make this recipe using a cast iron skillet and have since also adapted the recipe to be baked in a Dutch oven or a baking sheet. It’s an easy Irish soda bread recipe, the game upped with the addition of raisins for a touch of sweetness and caraway in keeping with tradition.

The top of the dough on this crudely-shapen round loaf emerges from the oven with a deep cross shape cut into it pre-bake with a sharp knife. Simple ingredients keep this bake humble. Soft salted butter emphasizes the sugar in the raisins making this a sweet soda bread of sorts.

a black iron Dutch oven with a round of soda bread

This homemade bread loaf is among the easiest breads to emerge from your kitchen and is best enjoyed warm with a cup of tea. One of my favorite ways to indulge in this bake is to enjoy it toasted with butter and soft scrambled eggs.

Ingredients for Delicious Irish Soda Bread

  • all-purpose flour
  • granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • baking soda
  • room temperature unsalted butter
  • raisins
  • caraway seed
  • buttermilk
  • a large egg
close up of sliced Irish soda bread with raisins and caraway

How to Make Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway

Decide first if you will bake your loaf in a large cast iron skillet, on a rimmed baking sheet, or in a Dutch oven. In my photos, I am using one of my 100+ year old iron Dutch ovens that I salvaged and re-seasoned.

Prepare a Cast Iron Skillet, Baking Sheet or Dutch Oven

Line whichever tool you plan to use with parchment paper. Dust with a tiny amount of white flour.

ProTip: A good way to get parchment paper to stay put is to tear off a sheet and crumple it up several times, smoothing it out in between until it keeps its shape when ‘molded’ to your bakeware.

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Assemble your food processor OR prepare a large bowl for mixing as I offer both methods below.

Using a Food Processor

To the barrel of your food processor pulse together the dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Then add in the butter, and pulse until it is coarse and well incorporated.

Whisk together the egg and buttermilk and add to the textured flour along with the raisins and caraway seeds and pulse until just incorporated. Over-mixing the soft dough will make the finished bake tough.

Using a Mixing Bowl

Whisk together dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter to the flour mixture and using your fingertips, rub the butter in until coarse crumbs form.

Stir the raisins and caraway into the textured flour. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and buttermilk together until well blended.

Add the liquids to a well in the center of the textured flour and use a wooden spoon to stir it until just incorporated. Over-mixing the soft dough will make the finished bake tough.

Bake the Bread

Dust your hands with flour and work the dough into a compact and round loaf. Place the dough into the prepared skillet, baking sheet, or Dutch oven atop the lightly floured parchment, NO LID.

Using a serrated knife that has been dipped in flour, cut a 1 to 2-inch deep cross in the top of the dough. This helps heat to penetrate the dough and it looks gorgeous emerging from your oven.

If using a cast iron skillet, bake for 25 minutes and test for doneness. If using a baking sheet or Dutch oven, bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until top is browned and the bread sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.

ProTip: Regardless of what you bake the loaf in/on, cover the loaf 20 minutes into the bake by tenting with aluminum foil so the top does not brown too quickly.

Remove from the oven and transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool. I try to remember to set out some salted sweet cream butter in advance so I can serve generously smeared atop a warm slice.

Modifying the Norm to Make It Not Entirely Average

  • If your preference is ‘golden raisins over just raisins,’ feel like you can swap them out, and also for sultanas or currants, too.
  • If baking with the caraway seed on top of the bread as opposed to inside the bread appeals to you, sprinkle the completed loaf with the seeds before you cut your cross.
  • If you enjoy the taste of caraway but cannot consume seeds for dietary or health reasons, consider using 1/4 teaspoon of caraway extract in the dough when you add the wet ingredients.
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Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway

Jenny from Not Entirely Average
It needn't be St. Patrick's Day to enjoy a traditional Irish soda bread, a tasty quick bread made with both raisins and caraway seeds.
5 from 3 votes
Servings: 10 servings
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American, Irish
Servings 10 servings
Calories 340 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 1 cup raisins may substitute dried currants or sultanas
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line cast iron skillet, rimmed baking sheet, or in a Dutch oven with parchment paper. Dust with a tiny amount of white flour. Set aside.

to assemble dough using your food processor

  • Pulse together the dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Then add in the butter, and pulse until it is coarse and well incorporated. Whisk together the egg and buttermilk and add to the textured flour along with the raisins and caraway seeds and pulse until just incorporated. Over-mixing the soft dough will make the finished bake tough.

to assemble dough using a mixing bowl

  • Whisk together dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter to the flour mixture and using your fingertips, rub the butter in until coarse crumbs form. Stir the raisins and caraway into the textured flour.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and buttermilk together until well blended. Add the liquids to a well in the center of the textured flour and use a wooden spoon to stir it until just incorporated. Over-mixing the soft dough will make the finished bake tough.

shape and bake

  • Dust your hands with flour and work the dough into a compact and round loaf. Place the dough into the prepared skillet, baking sheet, or Dutch oven atop the lightly floured parchment, NO LID. Using a serrated knife that has been dipped in flour, cut a 1 to 2-inch deep cross in the top of the dough. This helps heat to penetrate the dough and it looks gorgeous emerging from your oven.
  • If using a cast iron skillet, bake for 25 minutes and test for doneness. If using a baking sheet or Dutch oven, bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is browned and the bread sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped. Regardless of what you bake the loaf in/on, cover the loaf 20 minutes into the bake by tenting with aluminum foil so the top does not brown too quickly.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with softened sweet cream butter.

Notes

Please Note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not use table salt or iodized salt in any of the recipes you find on Not Entirely Average UNLESS specified otherwise.
To bake the caraway seed on top of the bread rather than inside the bread, sprinkle the completed loaf with the seeds before you cut your cross.
Use 1/4 teaspoon of caraway extract in the dough in lieu of caraway seed if you are unable to consume seeds due to dietary restrictions.
Double-wrap any leftovers first in plastic film then in aluminum foil and store on the counter at room temperature. It should be noted that Irish Soda Bread is best on the day it’s made.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 340kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 8gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 510mgPotassium: 266mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 317IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 79mgIron: 3mg
Keyword baking, bread,
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!
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6 Comments

    1. Nicolle! You didn’t have to do this, it’s too kind! I have been lax about sharing anywhere, but you are on my revised list now, so LOOK OUT! x – Jenny

  1. Oh my gosh, I hate soda bread but this converted me – I have no idea if it’s the buttermilk or the tiny bit of sweetness from the raisins but now I’ve made it two times and I’m making it AGAIN tomorrow for Saint Patrick’s day. Going to check out your bangers thing next! Thank you!!5 stars

  2. Outstanding!!! I used homemade yogurt instead of buttermilk, still fabulous. It’s a St. Patrick’s gift for the staff at the cancer center I have to go to.
    Cheers5 stars

    1. Tim, thank you for circling back and spreading words of kindness! And if you are inferring you are going to the cancer center for you, I’ve just added you to the top of my prayer list. I mean that – I believe this. xo – Jenny