Not Quite Your Grandmother’s Irish Soda Bread

Almost Irish soda bread, but not quite.

I’ve seen several recipes for Irish Soda Bread and I’ve made a few loaves in my time. I’m not quite Irish, like almost everyone who like to claim Irish roots, I’m not quite there. I live in Northern Ireland, it’s close by land though. Then my mother was Scottish and my father’s parents were Spanish and Portuguese, so no Irish connections there. Anyway, I can still bake what I like and there are folks in our country who like to celebrate St Patrick’s day. In honour of St Patrick, once again another vaguely Irish recipe.

I did post a recipe for Soda Farls earlier, also known as soda bread. Another variation on soda bread is a bit like a fruit loaf but a little bit dryer in consistency. I like soda bread whatever way it comes, but as you may have realised I like to mix things up a bit. I used a version of fruited Irish soda bread, changed it, and invented my own cranberry bread. For the family today I made two of these cakes so I doubled the recipe. This recipe as it stands makes a very generous 2lb loaf tin size cake.

Amanda’s Irish Cranberry Bread


400g /14.1oz plain flour (all purpose)

100g /3.5oz bread flour containing malt flakes or seeds (I used Cotswold Crunch, but you can use what you have in your cupboard)

200g /7oz dried cranberries

100g /3.5oz caster sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)

2 eggs, beaten

250ml /8.5oz milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

55g /1.9oz butter, melted


Warm your oven to 175C/350F

Mix the milk and lemon juice together and leave it for about ten minutes, this sours the milk. You could use buttermilk but this is what I do because I usually don’t have buttermilk in.

Mix the cranberries and flour together, then add all the other dry ingredients. Mix them well so the cranberries are coated and separated.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the eggs, soured milk and butter. Mix everything together. Do not use a beater, just a spoon. The mix will be sticky and craggy, this is perfect.

Spoon the mix into a loaf tin which has been greased or lined. I have paper liners which I use for this bread.

Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes. You need to check for readiness by sticking a cocktail stick or skewer into the bread, it should come out clean. When the bread is ready cool on a wire rack.

Delicious served buttered either as it is, or toasted.

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