This Irish Soda Bread is tender and just a little sweet. Nothing is better than a thick slice fresh from the oven generously slathered with Irish butter and fruit jam.
There are certain foods that, for me, are never good enough; those foods that incite a deep-rooted nostalgia. For these foods, nothing less than perfect will suffice.
Irish Soda Bread is one such food. I fell madly in love with soda bread in middle school. There is no reason why this particular bread sparked a two-decade-long obsession with recreating it.
Perhaps it is because Irish Soda Bread is reminiscent of traditional British scones and my family and I had just moved back to the States from Hong Kong where I developed a 3 year long obsession with the tea-time treat.
I have been trying to find the perfect soda bread recipe ever since.
I kid you not. I have tried the top rated ones on All-Recipes, in my heritage cookbooks, and in my modern cookbooks. Even the one from culinary school didn’t live up to my standards.
So I stopped trying and just made my own recipe.
Everyone looks for something a little different in soda bread. They want to recreate the bread of their youth, or the bread just like their great-grandmother, who was fresh off the boat, used to make. Some like it a little sweeter, some with caraway seeds, some a little more crumbly.
I like mine with a tight, tender crumb, a little sweeter than is all together necessary for a “bread”, never dry, and it must have raisins. Must. Have. Raisins.
This is the bread that ignites my nostalgia.
The recipe of which I need to make a double batch: one for me and one for everyone else.
This is the bread that I will make my great-grandchildren.
The secret ingredient in this recipe, and the one that will take this bread from exceptional to I-can’t-believe-you-made-something-so-incredible, is love. You must make this bread with love. Add the buttermilk with your hands and when you kneed it, kneed it with love. Feel the dough. It will tell you when it’s had enough and is ready to be baked. This is how your bread will be more tender than anyone else’s.
Brew some coffee or tea, slather salted Irish butter and jam on a thick slice of this soda bread, and be happy. You can taste the love, can’t you? 🙂