Years ago Bon Appetit published a piece entitled “How to Make Irish Soda Bread That Isn’t Terrible.” The writer called the loaf “the fruitcake of St. Patrick’s Day,” noting it was dry, heavy, weird tasting, ugly and misshapen.
The first time I made Irish Soda Bread, was before taking a trip to Ireland. I was disappointed with the outcome. I was expecting a yeasty bread taste, because, after all, it’s called bread. But its only leavening is baking soda. The ingredients are actually those of a scone, making it more cakey than bready. Much like a quick bread.
Efforts have been made to improve on the traditional loaf. I made the recipe that Cook’s Illustrated came up with in their test kitchen. It slices very nicely and the addition of raisins give the bread some punch. It will be a good breakfast bread this weekend, toasted and served with butter and jam.