One of my favorite holiday treats has always been Irish soda bread. Every March I would eagerly await its arrival at my local bakeries, and indulge over the coming days with a big slice (slathered with salted butter, of course) for breakfast. And sometimes I’d go back for an afternoon snack, too.
I eventually set about making my own, and was delighted to find that it was not only quite easy, but that the taste and texture of my homemade bread was far superior than the store-bought loaf.
But I had some issues.
As the size of the bread was rather large, it was somewhat impractical to give away as a gift. And since the bread starts to lose flavor and texture after a few days, those last few slices were always a disappointment.
I tried a few recipes for soda bread “muffins,” but they were just that — muffins, not soda bread.
These mini loaves are baked in a jumbo muffin tin, and you can use any standard soda bread recipe— it makes six perfect little loaves that are just right for wrapping up and giving.
You’ll still want to eat these in a day or so, but it’s much easier when scaled down.
Irish Soda Bread “Minis”
idea adapted from Evermine Blog
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
4 – 4 1/2 c. flour
3 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 T. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
6 T. cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 c. raisins (dark, golden or a mix of each)
1 T. caraway seeds
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
Pre-heat oven to 425 – grease and flour a jumbo muffin tin.
Combine 4 c. flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in your food processor – pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter pieces and pulse till mixture resembles coarse meal (alternatively, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and work the butter pieces in, using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers).
Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the raisins and caraway seeds, stirring to combine. Make a well in the center and add the egg and buttermilk. Stir just till just combined. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times, adding flour a little at a time (up to 1/2 cup) if dough is too sticky. Be careful not to overwork the dough, or your breads will be tough instead of tender.
Divide the dough into six even balls and place into the prepared tin. Using the tip of a paring knife, score an “X” into the top of each ball. Bake till golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 20-30 minutes.
Serve warm or cool completely if wrapping/giving as gifts.