Irish Soda Bread - The real version and the Spotted Dog version

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. I've never really been a fan of Irish Soda Bread because, well, honestly?  I can't stand bread with raisins in it and everyone that has ever offered me their version (be it neighbors, mothers or people at work who would bring it to the break room to share) has put raisins in it.

This morning I had St. Patrick's Day and 'traditional Irish Soda Bread' on the brain and was happily surprised to find out - true Irish Soda Bread does not have raisins in it!  As a matter of fact it sounds very simple to the artisan breads I make and I bet I would actually like it!

The website of the Society for the Preservation of Traditional Irish Soda Bread explain; 

"If your "soda bread" has raisins, it's not "soda bread!  It's called "Spotted Dog" or "Railway Cake"!  If it contains raisins, eggs, baking powder, sugar or shortening, it's called "cake", not "bread."  All are tasty, but not traditional Irish Soda Bread!"

"The basic soda bread is made with flour, baking soda, salt, and soured milk (or buttermilk).  That's it!"

White Soda Bread
4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees.  Lightly crease and flour a cake pan.
In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.
Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.  Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape).

Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.

Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the bastible pot).  Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.  Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.
 * * * * * * * *

I am happy to say this year I will be proud to make traditional Irish Soda Bread!  But... for those of you who still want a sweet bread or like putting little raisins in your breads, I'm going to put this one here for you.

How many people make Irish Soda Bread 
 (which I learned today the traditional Irish would call this Spotted Dog)

3 c flour
1 c sugar
3 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 egg
2 c milk
1/2 c butter, melted
1 1/2 c raisins
2 T caraway seeds

In a bowl combine the dry ingredients;  flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a second bowl whisk the egg and milk with the melted butter.  Stir the wet and dry ingredients together just until blended.  Fold in the raisins and caraway seeds.  Transfer to a greased, round Irish Soda Bread baking bowl or pan.  Bake the bread at 350 for approximately 40 minutes or until a cake tester or sharp, thin knife inserted in the center, comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Or you might be interested in Mixes instead;


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