Barefoot Contessa’s Irish Soda Bread

I’d always wanted to make home-made bread, but never got around to getting a bread machine, so pretty much only ever made pumpkin-banana bread and things like that.  I was always afraid to try a real bread in a regular oven, assuming anything else I tried wouldn’t turn out right.  But last year, while planning our Saint Patrick’s Day Dinner (other dishes included Cheddar Ale Soup, Shepherd’s Pie, and Chocolate Guinness Mousse with Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream) with our friends from the Rustic Garden Bistro, I stumbled across what looked like a very tasty and very do-able Irish Soda Bread recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, whom I’m actually not a huge fan of, but Colleen loves, and it got 5 stars on over 100 ratings, so whatever…

But I put aside my anti-Ina biases and gave it a try, and it was pretty easy and turned out great, despite her general boring-ness.  :-)

Next time I may add the sugar sprinkles on the outside that all the soda bread we see at the store seems to have, but since this was to accompany a savory meal, and it was already relatively sweet (it is also a great breakfast bread!), I didn’t let the lack of exterior sugar bug me this time.  But it looked like an actual loaf of bread and it tasted good, so I declare it a success!


Irish Soda Bread Fixin’s


Cubed butter on dry fixin’s.


Dry bowl, wet bowl, and currants, ready to rock.


Mixing the dough.


Dough on floured board.


Notched and sitting on the parchment paper on the cookie sheet.


That actually looks like a loaf of Irish Soda Bread!

Cheddar Ale Soup

Plated with Cheddar Ale Soup.

Barefoot Contessa's Irish Soda Bread
Weight Watchers Info: 11 PointsPlus per slice (if cut loaf into 8 slices)
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 1 loaf, 8 slices
  • 4 Cups all-purpose flour (plus a little bit extra for the currants and more for kneading later)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • 1½ Tsp kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1¾ Cups cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 XL egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 Cup dried currants
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl
  3. Add butter and mix with electric mixer on low until mixed into flour
  4. Lightly mix buttermilk, egg, and zest with a fork or whisk in a measuring cup
  5. Slowly add wet mixture to dry mixture with mixer on low speed
  6. Combine currants with 1 tbsp flour and mix into dough (it is quite moist…)
  7. Plop dough on floured surface and knead into a round loaf
  8. Place loaf on parchment paper on a cookie sheet
  9. Lightly cut an X in the top of the dough with a serrated knife
  10. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a test poke with a knife or cake tester comes out clean. Tapping the loaf should result in a hollow sound
  11. Cool on a baking rack
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature

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