Sláinte! A just-sweet-enough American-Irish soda bread.

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day!

Green clothes. Green cabbage. Green cookies.

Green beer.

Sorry… I just couldn’t bear to make green bread.

After all, why ruin the creamy-gold good looks of this traditional American-Irish soda bread? Studded with currants, laced with caraway seeds (or not), it’s chewy and light – more bread than cake, unlike many American soda breads.

Plus most of its sweetness comes from the currants, and a crunchy sugar crust. I can see this spread with butter; or toasted, and served with orange marmalade. And lime marmalade.

Green… AND orange.

Now there’s the perfectly PC way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

Put the following in a mixing bowl:

3 cups Perfect Pastry Blend OR King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
heaping 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup currants (first choice) or raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, optional

Whisk until thoroughly combined.

Can you use white whole wheat flour? Yes; substitute 1 cup white whole wheat for 1 cup of the all-purpose flour.

Can you up the percentage of whole wheat? Yes; just be aware, the more whole wheat you add, the denser your bread will be.

Stir together 1 large egg, and 1 3/4 cups buttermilk.

No buttermilk? Use one 6-ounce container plain yogurt and 1 cup milk in place of the buttermilk.

Can you use low-fat dairy? Yes, the bread will be less tender. Can you use nonfat dairy? Yes, the bread will be tough. Let your conscience be your guide.

Whisk the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Add 4 tablespoons melted butter…

…and mix briefly, just to combine.

The batter will be quite thick.

Spoon it into the prepared loaf pan.

Drizzle with 1 tablespoon milk; then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coarse white sugar.

Note how the milk is pooling around the edges of the pan. Next time, I’d take a spoon or my finger and make a little moat right around the edge of the batter, to force the milk more towards the center. You’ll see why later.

Bake the bread for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

When it’s finished, the temperature of the bread at its center will range between 200°F and 210°F, as measured with an instant-read thermometer.

Remove the bread from the oven, and loosen its sides with a heatproof spatula or table knife. After 5 minutes, turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

Nice crackly-crunchy crust, eh?

But see the darkened corner? That’s from milk running down the inside of the pan and burning; thus the “batter moat” suggested earlier.

Slice when completely cool.

Enjoy as is; or with butter. Or toasted, with the aforementioned orange and lime marmalades.

Sigh… OK, have it your way. Yes, you CAN color this bread with green food coloring. But don’t ask me how much, I’m just not going there!

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for American Irish Soda Bread.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Of course! Simply reduce the baking time to about 18-22 minutes. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  1. George

    can this recipe be molded into round loaves and cross cut on top (typical looking soda bread)? Not sure if dough is to loose

  2. Laureen

    The pooling around the edges of the pan seem like a whole lot more than one tbsp milk
    Am I misunderstanding something?

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      No, Laureen, it’s very shallow around the edges, and it did spread out, but honest, it’s just 1 tablespoon! Enjoy – PJH

  3. PikaNYC

    Fantastic recipe, but if you want a somewhat firmer, more crumbly (but not dry) soda bread, I’d suggest using only about 1 cup of buttermilk. I discovered this when I accidentally “messed up” the recipe and didn’t use enough, but I find that I prefer it to the very cakelike soda bread I ended up with when I followed the recipe exactly. Using 1 cup of buttermilk produces a dough more similar in consistency to a scone than a cake.

  4. crcbrothers

    I would love to keep the circular shape of a traditional soda bread. Would this recipe work in a dutch oven pan or other circular shaped pan?

    I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with either of these pans! Give it a try and let us know how it works.-Jon

  5. Barb

    I have a friend who has a secret recipe that seems like this but there is definitely corn meal in it. Can you add corn meal to a recipe like this? What ratio for the 3 cups?
    I would start with 1/4- 1/2 cup cornmeal at first to see if the results resemble the outcome of your friend’s recipe. ~Amy

  6. Nwanne

    I can’t get this right. Twice I made this and it didn’t come out fine. The first time, I made it following the recipe without any change. It was too wet. The second time, I used 1 and 1/2 cups of water. It still looks too moist. What could I be doing wrong? The temperature on both days was about 30 degrees centigrade, quite warm (I live in Nigeria). Does that have any bearing? I bake other kinds of bread and they turn out fine. Please help! Sorry this is so long but I would like to get it right.

    Sounds like it could be any number of things, please send us an email and we will help you work it out. JDB

  7. jenaij

    Do you think this would work with KAF’s GF flour? And maybe a little xanthan gum?

    I wouldn’t go there, no. Much better to start with our Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffin recipe, and substitute raisins/currants for blueberries, omit the nutmeg, and add caraway seeds, if desired. Enjoy! PJH


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