Irish Soda Bread.. maybe?

Irish Soda Bread

by Amber on March 2, 2011

I’m going to admit something to you now: This post is having a total identity crisis. It seemed simple enough. It’s March (p.s. how the hell is it MARCH?), which means St. Patrick’s Day. It means lots of Irish themed food, like Irish Soda Bread, will start popping up in the grocery store, the blogs, and restaurants. And let’s face it: no one’s going to pass up an excuse to drink copious amounts of green beer and eat Guinness Stew.

Here’s where the identity crisis comes in. My husband adores the fruit laden, icing topped Irish Soda Bread we find in our local grocery store. I decided I’d make it for him, and for you all, and it’d have a lot less chemicals in it than its grocery store counterpart.

Then I started researching Irish Soda Bread recipes. Hardly any of them had fruit. None of them had icing. After a quick poll of my favorite food blogging friends across the United States, one thing became clear. This icing topped sweet breakfasty bread: it’s a warped New Jersey-only phenomenon.

I don’t really know what to say to that, except that I know my husband loves it, so maybe you will too. Is it authentic Irish Soda Bread? Not to someone born and raised in Ireland.

But it is bread made with baking soda and buttermilk instead of yeast, which is the scientific definition of a soda bread. It’s a fun treat for St. Patrick’s Day, and probably better for your Paddy’s day breakfast than Green Beer. Just sayin’.

Do you have any St. Patrick’s day traditions? Ours is apparently to buy this non-authentic bread, which we’ve been doing since we moved back to the U.S. in 2006. Not any more though, because now I can make it myself!

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda March 2, 2011 at 9:36 AM

You crack me up girl!! Love this recipe… as I am 1/8 Irish! Or something like that. ;)


Lori @ RecipeGirl March 2, 2011 at 9:39 AM

My mother in law makes an authentic Irish Soda Bread with …. Bisquick! gasp! Yours looks much better!!


Cookbook Queen March 2, 2011 at 9:49 AM


I’ve never had Irish Soda Bread, can you believe it!!
(ashamed to say that I’d probably like the icing version best, also)


JenniferA March 2, 2011 at 9:52 AM

We see them with fruit here in MA, but I am not sure about the icing. Sounds good to me though!

I usually go for the corned beef if not on 3/17, some day that week. But what I really want is the reuben the next day with the leftovers!


SMITH BITES March 2, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Amber – i’ve NEVER MADE Irish Soda bread . . . and that in and of itself seems a tragedy but . . . i’m also part Irish . . . GASP!!! i know, right?? i’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and tackle it this year – you’ve inspired me . . . fruit-laden, icing-tops and all!


CerysL March 2, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Looking at the ingredients.. this looks GOOD. Caraway AND nutmeg?! I will have to try it!


naomi March 2, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Irish bread gets a Jersey makeover-nothing wrong that, especially when it looks this tasty!


Sylvie@GITK March 2, 2011 at 6:10 PM

I know, seriously how is it already March? I don’t know how that happened. I like to make soda bread for St. Patrick’s Day also, not sure if mine is very traditional either :-)


Tracy March 2, 2011 at 7:03 PM

I don’t know how it got to be March either…crazy! I’ve never had Irish soda bread of any kind, but I can say for sure that this version looks perfectly delicious to me! I’m only a little bit Irish…but I’m sure that’s enough to join in the celebration. ;-)


Mama Kelly aka Jia March 2, 2011 at 7:37 PM

This looks really yummy. I just love soda bread, although I rarely buy it. Maybe this year is the year I make it!!!


Melissa March 3, 2011 at 12:10 AM

When we placed Irish Soda Bread on the shelf at Central Market, it quickly became a customer favorite. So much that we kept making it well after St. Paddy’s day.

My husband and I used to go to the River Walk on St. Patrick’s Day. Not to party but to observe those who did and hope to see one fall in the river!


Kristen March 3, 2011 at 12:33 PM

I am going to have to give this kind of Irish bread a try! Lovely picture, Amber.


Jen Schall March 3, 2011 at 1:20 PM

My criteria for soda bread is baking soda… Problem solved! Granted, I am not Irish, nor do I really know anything about soda bread other than that my mom used to make it when I was a kid, and I’ve tried my hand at it once or twice. This looks a lot like what my mom made, though… She always put raisins or cranberries in it. Yum!


Jamie | MBA March 3, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Non-authentic or not, it looks delish! I actually think I may prefer the Jersey version!


Nancy @TSP March 3, 2011 at 9:33 PM

Amber, this looks delicious. I think I’ve only ever had the warped NJ kind. Yours looks so much better.


Aimee @ Simple Bites March 3, 2011 at 10:25 PM

“..a warped New Jersey-only phenomenon.”
>> Hilarious!

OK, I’ve never had ISB either, but your version looks like the perfect place to start.


Mary March 4, 2011 at 12:27 AM

This looks superb! I’ve never made irish soda bread before but I’m feeling inspired!

Great blog; happy I found you!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls


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