Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Soda bread is an essential start of the celebration in our house. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I loved the muffin adaptation- and the coarse sugar topping. I weighed the dry ingredients, reduced the baking time, and used turbinado sugar for the topping. Yummy.

  • 6 1/4 oz (177 g, 1 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 oz (85 g, , 3/4 cup) white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup (2 5/8 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups currants (first choice) or raisins
  • 1/2 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 227 g) buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz, 85 g) butter, melted; or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • turbinado sugar, for topping
  • butter and/or jam, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F, preferably on convection. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan with cooking oil spray; or line with papers, and grease the papers.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, currants or raisins, and caraway seeds.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk (or equivalent) and melted butter (or equivalent).
  4. Quickly and gently combine the dry and wet ingredients; honestly, this won’t take more than a few stirs with a bowl scraper or large spoon. As soon as everything is evenly moistened, quit; further stirring will cause the muffins to be tough.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, distribute the batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups about 3/4 full; the stiff batter will look mounded in the cups.
  6. Top with turbinado sugar, if desired.
  7. Bake the muffins for 14-15 minutes on convection, or up to 20 minutes in a standard oven, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven.
  8. Tip the muffins in the pan, so their bottoms don’t get soggy. Wait 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool.
  9. Serve them plain, or with butter and/or jam.

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Irish Soda Bread Buns

Just when I thought that I was running out of variations of soda bread to make for St. Patrick’s Day, I found this new one in the New York Times. 🙂 The genius idea from Melissa Clark was to bake the dough in small buns to maximize the amount of the fabulously crunchy outer crust. Yum!

I weighed the dry ingredients, used raisins instead of currants, and, despite pleas from my kids, included the caraway seeds. (I love them!) Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Yield: 8 buns

  • 3 T unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 155 grams all-purpose flour (1 1/4 cups), more as needed
  • 95 grams whole wheat pastry flour (3/4 cup)
  • 55 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 7 grams baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 5 grams coarse salt (1 teaspoon)
  • 5 grams baking soda (3/4 teaspoon)
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk, more for brushing
  • 1 large egg
  • 90 grams dried currants or raisins (about 2/3 cup)
  • 8 grams caraway seeds (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  3. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work in butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs.
  4. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Stir wet mixture into dry one until they just form a moist dough.
  5. Stir in raisins/currants and caraway seeds.
  6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. (I lightly floured a piece of parchment paper to minimize the mess.)
  7. Shape into a 7-inch round about 1-inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges.
  8. Using lightly floured hands, roll each wedge into a ball and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Using kitchen shears, snip a small “x” into the top of each bun. (You can also use a knife.)
  10. Brush tops with a little buttermilk, and dust lightly with flour.
  11. Transfer baking sheet to oven. Bake until buns are golden brown and firm, 20 to 25 minutes. (I baked mine for 22 minutes on convection.)
  12. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

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Skillet Irish Soda Bread

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! We had our corned beef and cabbage over the weekend with friends, but I had to squeeze in a new soda bread recipe for the big day. I had such a hard time selecting one…  baking it in a skillet won. 🙂 Apparently authentic Irish soda bread doesn’t contain raisins, butter, or eggs… this version contains all of the above AND sugar. Still festive though! (…maybe just a little tastier… my husband says, “No one wants to eat it without all of that stuff!”) 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for half of the all purpose flour and omitted the caraway seeds. We cut it into wedges and ate it for breakfast slathered with butter; she recommended eating it with tart apples and aged cheddar cheese which would be a wonderful snack. The outside was crunchy and buttery; the inside moist and sweet. Nice!

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Yield: 1 10-inch loaf

  • unsalted butter for greasing pan plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 ½ cups raisins or currants
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, optional
  • good aged cheddar cheese, for serving
  • tart apples, cut into slices, for serving
  • butter, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (on convection). Grease a 10-inch oven-proof skillet and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs and 2 tablespoons melted butter.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Stir in the raisins or currants and caraway seeds, if using.
  5. Pour batter into skillet. Brush top with remaining butter. Bake until golden and firm to touch, about 45 minutes on convection or up to 1 hour in a standard oven. Cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving with butter, cheddar and/or apples, as desired.

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Pull-Apart Irish Soda Bread

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When I saw a photo of this bread in Martha Stewart Living, I had to make soda bread this way! Because the pieces are smaller, the baking time is much shorter than traditional soda bread and the result is much more moist and tender bread. This recipe is also loaded with raisins and wonderful flavor and texture from caraway seeds. Great! Perfect for our annual St. Patrick’s Day soda bread breakfast. 🙂 (and week before St. Patrick’s Day soda bread breakfasts…) This recipe is from Martha Stewart Living. Happy Fiesta Friday #7 at the Novice Gardener!!
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup apple-cider vinegar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup caraway seeds
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) raisins
  • Salted butter, preferably Irish, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Mix milk and vinegar in a small bowl, and let stand until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in unsalted butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add bran, caraway seeds, and raisins; stir to distribute.
  4. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture; stir until dough just holds together but is still sticky.
  5. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat and press the dough gently into a round, dome-shaped loaf.
  6. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and, with floured hands, roll each into a ball. Transfer the balls to a parchment-lined baking sheet in 4 rows of 4, making sure each dough ball is touching the ones around it. With the tip of a paring knife, cut a 1/4-inch-deep X on each ball.
  7. Bake, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes (on convection). Let cool on a wire rack. Cool to room temperature before serving with plenty of salted Irish butter.

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One Year Ago:

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

whole wheat soda bread

When I was in High School (or was it Junior High School? :)), I did a report about Ireland. It was the first time I had ever made (or had ever heard of ) soda bread. I didn’t really like it,  but my rendition was probably not very good. Living on Long Island, soda bread is EVERYWHERE around St. Patrick’s Day. We do enjoy the Costco version, but I have to make homemade on St. Patrick’s Day. This is a great whole grain version from The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread: Cakes, Cookies, Bars, Pastries and More from New York City’s Favorite Bakery. (On a side note: Amy’s Bread is one of my favorite places to visit when we go to New York City!) My father-in-law has been requesting a baked breakfast item that is not too sweet. This bread fits that request- but my family preferred it warm, sliced, with butter and jam (sweetness!) on top. Because it is whole grain, it was a pretty hearty breakfast. I omitted the caraway seeds to please my kids, but I prefer it with them added.

Yield: 2 loaves, each scored into 5 pieces

  • 13.4 oz or 1 2/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • .88 oz or 1 T plus 1 tsp molasses (coat the measuring spoon with vegetable oil to prevent sticking)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 8.82 oz or 1 2/3 cups coarse organic whole wheat flour (or substitute 5.6 oz or 1 cup regular whole wheat flour PLUS  3.1 oz or 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats)
  • 7.4 oz or 1 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.76 oz or 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2.5 oz or 1/3 cup unsalted butter, 1/2-inch dice, cold or frozen
  • 5.1 oz or 1 1/8 cups dark raisins
  • .28 oz or 1 T caraway seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12 x 17-inch sheet pan with baking parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, molasses, and baking soda and set it aside while preparing the other ingredients, to let the chemical reaction work.
  3. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flours (oats if substituting), sugar, salt, and baking powder and process them for 5 seconds until they are just combined (oats chopped into small pieces). Add the butter and process again for 15 to 20 seconds, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. The largest pieces of butter should be about the size of tiny peas. The butter should be suspended in tiny granules throughout the flour, not mixed into it to make a doughy mass. Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and stir in the raisins and caraway seeds until they are evenly distributed.
  4. Make a deep well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk mixture into the well. Stir with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon just until the dry ingredients are barely moistened. This dough will be very wet but will firm up slightly as the coarse grain begins to absorb the liquid. With floured hands, weigh the dough and divide it into two equal pieces- or divide it equally by eye if you don’t have a scale. Be warned, your hands are going to be a gloppy mess. Don’t try to shape this very wet dough on the table. Keeping your hands well floured, place each portion of the dough directly onto the prepared sheet pan shaped into a rough-textured round about 5 inches in diameter. It should be more like a loose pile of dough than a compacted round ball. Leave several inches between ezch loaf and around the edges of the pan to allow for spreading. Clean your hands. Then, using a floured dough scraper or a sharp knife, deeply score each round into 5 wedges, cutting all the way down to the pan. Dip your cutter in flour before each cut. Try to cut the wedges as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with a little whole wheat flour to give them a rustic look.
  5. Bake the loaves in the center of the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan from front to back and continue baking 15 to 18 more minutes (only 7 more minutes on convection), until the loaves are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean. The bread should be crunchy on the outside, and moist, not doughy, on the inside. Remove the loaves from the pans to cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They’re best if eaten within 2 days.

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