With St. Patrick’s Day on its way, I thought it would be fun to bake miniature loaves of Irish Soda bread to give as gifts. Traditional Irish Soda bread, made with just flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt, is leavened by the reaction that occurs between the baking soda and buttermilk, and is served in Ireland as a regular accompaniment to meals. And while this particular soda bread recipe utilizes that very same chemical reaction, it includes a few more ingredients to make it extra special for the holiday.
To make my Irish Soda Bread gift-friendly, I prepared the dough inside the wells of a jumbo sized muffin tin. The resulting mini loaves fit perfectly inside my small kraft colored gift boxes, which I personalized with festive green labels in the style Rococo.
Irish Soda Bread
• 4 1/2 cups flour
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 4 tablespoons cold butter
• 1 cup raisins (or any other dried fruit)
• 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
• 1 large beaten egg
• 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Grease the cups in a jumbo muffin tin or line with papers.
Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda together in a bowl. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse crumb. (Alternately, you can combine the flour mixture with the butter in a food processor to achieve the same result.)
Add the raisins and the caraway seeds, and stir until evenly distributed. Form a well in the center and add the egg and the buttermilk. Stir until just combined, and then use your hands to knead two or three times until you have formed the dough into a shaggy ball.
Divide your dough into six even balls, and place in the wells of your jumbo muffin tin. Score an X on the top of each ball, and place in the oven on the center rack. Bake for 20-35 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Check for doneness by inserting a knife or a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean, remove from the oven. Allow to cool to room temperature before packaging.
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.