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Traditional Irish Soda Bread and Spotted Dog

Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Traditional Irish Soda Bread and Spotted Dog, a tale of two breads. It is not uncommon to find both of these breads labeled simply as soda bread, but that’s not exactly right.

Let us begin with a Traditional Irish Soda Bread. While researching soda bread recipes so that I could test and write a recipe to share, I found that there are some die hard purist of traditional Irish Soda Bread. A traditional soda bread is quite basic. A mix of flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk.

If your 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!” ~ Edward O’Dwyer, founder of Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread

Just as Southerners prefer soft wheat flour for biscuits, the Irish prefer it for soda bread. A centuries old basic recipe that was at times, the only food on the table for poor families. Today, we can enjoy a slice of soda bread slathered with creamy butter or as an accompaniment for our meal.

St. Patrick's Day Recipes

When you think about how traditional Irish Soda Bread is made, it begins a lot like making biscuits, minus the fat and baking powder. The recipe delivers a rustic crusty shell bread with a soft chewy center.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 c All Purpose Flour (a soft wheat flour such as White Lily)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 c Buttermilk
  • Extra flour for work area and dusting the bread

Preheat oven to 450°F

Step 1: In a mixing bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the buttermilk and mix to combine with the flour mixture with a spatula.

Step 2: Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. It’s important not to over work this bread dough. A couple of turns to shape are all that are needed. Dust the bread with flour because the dough will be sticky and shape into a thick round.

Best Irish Soda Bread Recipe dough

Step 3: Place the shaped bread round onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut a cross shape into the top of the dough. Place the bread into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes.

Irish Soda Bread History


Facts about Irish Soda Bread

  • Soda bread is a quick bread
  • The cross cut releases steam but according to Irish folklore, it also allows fairies to escape. It is also to ward off evil.
  • Irish Soda Bread has been around for centuries. The first printed recipe recorded was in 1836.
  • Soda bread is an everyday bread and only lasts a day or two

 


Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

Spotted Dog Bread

We turn our attention to what many consider to be just Irish Soda Bread with raisins. This is the version respectfully known as Spotted Dog Bread. The raisin variation of soda bread is well known and considered also the Americanized version of soda bread.

Personally, I find the spotted dog dough to be a bit more batter like and a little more work. It is not difficult to make at all but the dough consistency requires more attention before you’re able to properly shape your loaf for baking. The Spotted Dog Bread still has a crunchy outer crust and a slightly sweet chewy middle. The raisins add a nice pop of flavor.

Whichever version you choose to include in your Irish recipes, both the traditional Irish Soda Bread and the Spotted Dog Bread are both delicious.

Spotted Dog Bread

Spotted Dog Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4.5 c All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 c Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda (heaping)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 tbs Cold Butter, diced into cubes
  • 2 c Buttermilk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 c Raisins or Currants
  • Extra flour for work surface and working the dough (I recommend an additional 1/2 cup to the side to use as needed for dusting)
  • 1 tsp Water

Preheat oven to 400°F

Step 1: Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and raisins and use a hand mixture to combine until butter is mixed into the flour.

Step 2: Add the buttermilk and one egg to the flour mixture and mix to combine with a hand mixer. The dough will be batter-like, wet and sticky.

Step 3: Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. You will need to dust the dough and work until the consistency becomes less sticky and you’re able to form into a round loaf shape.

 

Step 4: Place the shaped bread round onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut a cross shape into the top of the dough. In a small bowl whisk together 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water to use as an egg wash. Brush the egg wash on the top of the bread prior to baking. Place the bread into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes.

Traditional Irish Soda Bread and Spotted Dog Bread

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3.5 c All Purpose Flour (a soft wheat flour such as White Lily)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 c Buttermilk
  • Extra flour for work area and dusting the bread

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 450°F

2

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the buttermilk and mix to combine with the flour mixture with a spatula.

3

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. It's important not to over work this bread dough. A couple of turns to shape are all that are needed. Dust the bread with flour because the dough will be sticky and shape into a thick round. 

4

Place the shaped bread round onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut a cross shape into the top of the dough. Place the bread into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes.

Notes

Spotted Dog Bread Recipe: Ingredients 4.5 c All Purpose Flour 1/4 c Granulated Sugar 1 tsp Baking Soda (heaping) 1 tsp Salt 4 tbs Cold Butter, diced into cubes 2 c Buttermilk 2 Eggs 1 c Raisins or Currants Extra flour for work surface and working the dough (I recommend an additional 1/2 cup to the side to use as needed for dusting) 1 tsp Water Preheat oven to 400°F Step 1: Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and raisins and use a hand mixture to combine until butter is mixed into the flour.  Step 2: Add the buttermilk and one egg to the flour mixture and mix to combine with a hand mixer. The dough will be batter-like, wet and sticky. Step 3: Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. You will need to dust the dough and work until the consistency becomes less sticky and you're able to form into a round loaf shape. Step 4: Place the shaped bread round onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut a cross shape into the top of the dough. In a small bowl whisk together 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water to use as an egg wash. Brush the egg wash on the top of the bread prior to baking. Place the bread into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 475°F and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes.

Other Irish Inspired Recipes You May Enjoy:

Irish Colcannon Casserole

Shared at : Weekend Potluck and Meal Plan Monday

 

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Miz Helen
    March 19, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    I would love to have a slice of each one of these breads! Have a great first week of spring and thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with FULL PLATE THURSDAY!
    Miz Helen

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