Smart Substitutions: Irish Soda Bread
St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that brings to mind loved traditions—even for those who aren’t of Irish descent! Hoards of people—many without a drop of Irish blood in them—head to the grocery store when corned beef becomes plentiful, loading up their carts with the mainstays of a conventional St. Patrick’s Day dinner: corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. When it comes to this green-hued holiday, many believe the more you stick to time-honored traditions, the better.
Irish soda bread may be the one exception. As purists will firmly tell you, traditional Irish soda bread—first concocted in the mid 1800s—contains just a few ingredients: flour, baking soda (called “bread soda” in Ireland), salt and milk or buttermilk. But recipe tinkerers looking to add some zing to this treasured treat have added their own twists over the years. Whiskey-soaked raisins, sugar, orange zest, caraway seeds and many other ingredients have made their way into Irish soda bread recipes.
Our Irish soda bread recipe contains all the traditional ingredients, adds in a few others for fun and substitutes Kretschmer Honey Crunch Wheat Germ for some of the flour. The result is a sweet, nutty-tasting, healthier soda bread.
If you’re willing to break with tradition this St. Patrick’s Day, we think you’ll love what we’ve created. And remember, just because it’s an Irish favorite doesn’t mean you can only eat soda bread during the month of March! This bread goes beautifully with a hot cup of tea or coffee all year round.
Irish Soda Bread with Wheat Germ
Makes 1 loaf
- Nonstick vegetable spray or butter for greasing pan
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Kretschmer Honey Crunch Wheat Germ
- 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup currants
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet. In large bowl mix flour, wheat germ, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda with a whisk. Add butter and cut in with pastry blender (or use fingertips) until course meal forms. Gently stir in buttermilk until blended. Mix in currants.
Gather dough (it will be fairly wet and sticky), transfer to floured board and knead a few times with floured hands. Form into a round loaf and transfer to baking sheet. If desired, cut a shallow X into the top of the dough using a serrated knife. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
Bake until bread is browned and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool bread on sheet 10 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely or serve warm.
See our Substitution Chart for more ways to include wheat germ in your favorite recipes.