Irish Soda Bread

(a sweeter variation)

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for surface)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into tiny cubes (or grated while chilled)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk (cold)
  • 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon or orange zest

Preheat oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk and lemon or orange zest and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Using a fork, cut in the butter and blend into tiny crumbs (fingers will work too). Add the buttermilk/egg mixture and gradually stir until just combined.

On a floured surface using floured hands, slightly knead dough and shape into a ball without overworking. The dough should be rough in appearance rather than smooth and elastic. Carefully transfer to the center of the baking sheet. Using a knife, score a cross on top of the dough and sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar.

Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean. You may want to tent with foil the last 10 minutes to prevent overbaking on the outside. Transfer to a rack and let cool slightly before slicing. Delicious served warm and topped with butter or fruit preserves!