The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Irish Soda Rolls for St. Patrick's Day

breadsong's picture

Irish Soda Rolls for St. Patrick's Day

Hello and Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Breakfast was a real treat today...what a pleasure to discover Irish Soda Bread :^)

I found a recipe for Royal Irish Soda Bread in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s book The Bread Bible, and made rolls as Rose suggested. 
The recipe called for whiskey-soaked currants, and provided a second use for the whiskey after it had done its job for the currants: flavoring for whiskey butter, to spread on the rolls (sounded pretty decadent, and oh-so-good to me!).

...enjoying a warm one, with whiskey butter :^)

Reading about soda breads in Elizabeth David’s book, English Bread and Yeast Cookery, Ms. David recommended covering the bread with an inverted tin, to aid the rise a bit, and to help prevent the crust from getting too hard or dry, so I tried doing this for this bake:

After 15 minutes at 375F:
(was hoping for a bit more 'rise')

I wanted to thank Sylvia for writing about her beautiful Irish Soda Bread also; I’ll try using brand-new baking soda and adding cream of tartar like she does and see what effect this has on the rise.

The currants were soaked overnight in whiskey (Canadian whiskey was all I had!),
but made the rolls and the accompanying spread with good, Irish butter...
To make the whiskey butter spread, 118 grams of butter were creamed in the mixer until softened, then  1 Tablespoon sugar and the reserved whiskey (about 3 Tablespoons) from soaking the currants were added and blended in.  Not all of the whiskey wanted to blend in with the butter, so with a spatula I pressed the butter against the side of the mixing bowl – this helped to drain the excess liquid – before putting the butter in a serving dish:

The flours I used 1/3 locally grown, organic soft white spring whole wheat and 2/3 organic all-purpose flour;
the rolls were nice and tender, and had a nice sweetness with the addition of the currants (approx. 50% of the flour weight).

Still warm, and spread with the whiskey butter, these Irish Soda Rolls made for a wonderful breakfast  and start to
St. Patrick’s Day :^)

Happy baking everyone!
:^) breadsong




ananda's picture

Hi Breadsong,

These look lovely, although I note Rose Levy Barenbaum labels them "Royal" Irish Soda Bread/Rolls.

Of course given the obvious peasant roots of this bread, she may just be pushing the boundaries a tad; but that's ok.

Yes, you need to use fresh baking soda.   Elizabeth David is really good on this aspect of chemical aeration, pp.515-9 in my Penguin copy.

Very best wishes


breadsong's picture

Hello Andy,
The whiskeyed currants and butter put these over the top - royally delicious and worthy of the name, imho :^)
A new box of baking soda for the next try, then!
Thanks :^) from breadsong

gmagmabaking2's picture

Wow, those rolls look great... will have to do that next year!  We 3 : gmabaking, gmabaking2, and gmagmabaking2, cooked together today making Irish Soda Bread and great corned beef and cabbage. Our eldest sister, the cooking guru, had us taking that corned beef out of that "boiled dinner" idea and adding some mustard and brown sugar glaze to a roasted corned beef ---- awwwwesome! -- Here are some pictures.

Above is gmabaking's, Barb's in Washington state...  and below is mine, gmagmabaking2, Diane's.... haven't figured out why my pictures are so big... hmmm.... 

and then... bringing it all together, ready for the table is our youngest sister, Helen; gmabaking2's... with her corned beef and cabbage! Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone!!!

Gotta run... it is time for dinner. ;-)


breadsong's picture

Happy St. Patrick's Day - Diane, Barb and Helen :^)
You three have been busy making lovely foods to celebrate the day!
Your Irish Soda breads all look really good, with their raisin (currant?) 'freckles'.
It looks like you've baked them in springform pans - very nice shaping for the baked bread.
Thanks for sharing your photos!
:^) breadsong


dabrownman's picture

St Patrick blush with all of your fine fare.  I too put mustard on my corned beef and bake it after I boil it - to get rid of the salt - and before grilling it to get those crispy burnt ends we love so much:-)

Happy St Paddy's Day girls!

dabrownman's picture

And thank you for using Kerrygold Butter too.  I worked for the Irish Dairy Board for 20 years here in the states and their butter won best of Europe and the USA almost every year.  I never learned to speak Irish but I sure could understand it after 10 Guinness!  Still, yeasted Irish brown bread is my favoite of all the Irish breads.

Your rolls look delicious.  Happy St Pat's Day. 

breadsong's picture

Thanks, DA!
I almost forgot I had this butter. I picked up the Kerrygold butter on a whim awhile ago, put it in the freezer, and forgot about it...until last night when I decided I wanted to make these rolls.
How perfect to have this beautiful Irish butter to bake with today :^)
I see you've been giving your dried fruits the special treatment too, soaking them for your lovely Babka!
Irish brown bread is something I'd like to try making sometime.
Thanks so much and hope you've had a great St. Patrick's Day.
:^) breadsong

run4bread's picture

November a year ago I spent a week in Ireland. I asked the B&B hostess who made the best soda bread that I had that trip for her recipe. She would not give it and told me to use Darina Allen's cookbook. (Who? Oops.). So I bought her "Irish Traditional Cooking" book and use her soda bread recipes. I love their simplicity: flour, salt, soda and buttermilk. And then my taste for mother's "american" irish soda bread steps in and i add hydrated brown and golden raisins and caraway seeds, and melt butter on the crust when it comes out of the oven.

Getting back to Darina Allen, her book shows bread baked in a bastible. Looks just like a dutch oven, a covered pot suspended over coals with coals on the lid. So now I bake my soda bread in my combi pan. I think I get more rise, with the lid on the first 15 minutes.

I also like her names: seedy bread for caraway versions and spotted dog with raisins.
Sorry no pics. I've made 7 loaves in the last three weeks and gave them away forgetting to take pics. Some without seeds, raisins and varying amounts of whole wheat. So simple and flexible!

breadsong's picture

Hello run4bread,
Thank you so much for your mention of Darina Allen and her book. The soda breads you bake sound wonderful,
and I appreciate the 'covered pot' baking tip :^)
I just looked up Ms. Allen and learned of her Ballymaloe Cookery School - would be a fun thing to do, to take a class there, if my travels ever take me to Ireland.
Just requested "Irish Traditional Cooking" and "Ballymaloe Seasons" through my local library - really looking forward to having a good browse!
Thanks again,
:^) breadsong


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Wow!  Gotta try that!  

I wonder if a little cocoa powder would help the whiskey stay in the butter,  or maybe a light dusting of instant butterscotch pudding powder while creaming.  I got to experiment.  Thanks!  :)

breadsong's picture

Hi Mini,
Butter is such a fabulous carrier for flavor...have fun experimenting!
:^) breadsong


gene wild's picture
gene wild

These look great but my Irish family would have called them cake not bread. Anything that used more than flour, salt, baking soda and butter milk was always called cake.

I wouldn't turn any of these down no matter what the name and will have to try baking them myself :)


breadsong's picture

Thanks, gene :^)
Like so many of Rose's recipes, this one was a lovely one to bake and discover.
:^) breadsong