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The Collins Irish soda bread: two recipes

Note: I have a loaf of this in the oven right now even as I write this recipe. It is so easy and fast--it took me 14 minutes 30 seconds from taking the bowl from the cupboard to closing the oven door. Impress your guest by stirring some up for breakfast--and it even makes a pretty good dinner bread.

Irish soda bread.This recipe is based on an old Minneapolis Star-Tribune clipping. True, it is not precisely low-fat, but compared to scones and donuts, it's health food!

Serves about four regular eaters.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking sheet with cooking spray or, to save washing the sheet, cover sheet with parchment paper (see photo).


2 cups flour.
1 teaspoon baking soda.
1 teaspoon salt--or less.
1 tablespoon caraway seeds.
1 tablespoons turbinado or demarara sugar. Okay, if you don't have those,
substitute regular sugar.
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, chilled.
1/2 cup currents or raisins.
1 cup buttermilk.

I know buttermilk is not regularly in everyone's fridge, but you can buy a small pint sized carton good for two loaves, and it lasts a really long time compared to regular milk. If you use regular milk, you won't get that slightly tangy soda bread taste. My grandmother actually used to drink buttermilk, but I'm pretty sure that habit died out with the World War I generation.


In work bowl whisk together flour, soda, salt and caraway seeds. Chop butter into squares, cut into dry mix with pastry cutter (easy) or two table knives held between thumb/forefinger and forefinger/third finger (moderate fine motor skills required).

Throw in currants (best) or raisins (what you likely have on hand).

Pour in buttermilk. Stir until dough forms into vaguely sticky ball. Dump onto baking sheet.

Form into reasonably respectable ball, flatten to about 1 1/2 inches. Cut cross in center.

Dip out buttermilk left in the cup measure, spread over top of loaf.

Bake 30-35 minutes, until nicely brown on top. Cool on rack. I just took mine out of the oven, so add a photo to inspire you.

New! Healthier version without the butter

This perhaps is not quite as rich, but almost as good, and easier to make.

No-butter Irish soda bread.
(Adapted from a recipe in Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

3 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
2 cups buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour soda and salt. Add raisins.

Add 1 1/2 cups buttermilk. Mix.

Add last 1/2 cup buttermilk. Mix.

Knead in the mixing bowl a minute or two to form a cohesive dough.

Cut dough in half. Shape into two balls.

Flatten balls into a round loaf about an inch thick on baking sheet. Cut cross into top of each loaf.

Using a spoon, scoop up left over buttermilk in bottom of cup, spread on top of loaves.

Bake about 35 minutes until golden brown, or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom.