Irish soda bread is a type of quick bread that uses baking soda as a leavener. They’re easy loaves to make because the basic recipe has just four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. This simple ingredient list also means that it is quite easy to put your own twist on the classic loaf. As much as I enjoy a plain soda bread when it is slathered with butter and jam (or used to sop up gravy after making a roast), I also like it with some variation. Raisins are a great way to sweeten up soda bread, and adding oatmeal or oat flour makes for a more tender, flavorful loaf. I usually make one big loaf and cut it into slices, but this time around I opted to make individually sized Mini Irish Soda Breads.
The mini soda breads follow the same recipe as full sized soda breads, but are baked off in small, biscuit-like portions. The dough is soft, so it can be dropped directly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet with a large spoon or scoop, rather than trying to form it into individual loaves. If you add extra flour to make the dough less sticky, your breads will be a little on the tough side.
These breads can be made plain, but I added raisins, along with dried cherries and apricots to give it a little bit of sweetness. They have a nice buttermilk flavor and, like most soda breads, are plain enough to take well to a lot of butter, jam, honey or whatever else you might be inclined to pile on. These are best served when they are fresh and still warm from the oven, so try to make them shortly before serving, whether you pan to serve them at brunch or alongside dinner.
Mini Irish Soda Breads
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup each dried apricots, raisins and dried cherries
Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir together. Add buttermilk and honey and mix with a large spoon until the dough comes together. Stir in dried fruit. The dough will be quite sticky.
Divide dough into 8 even pieces (scooping the dough out with a large, round spoon) and place onto prepared baking sheet. Smooth tops with very lightly floured fingers, then slash an X into the top of each with a sharp
Bake for about 12 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before serving.