Recipe Sleuth: BlackSalt’s Irish Soda Bread

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, a classic recipe from pastry chef Susan Wallace.

BlackSalt’s soda bread is the perfect thing to bake for a St. Patty’s party.

BlackSalt is known for its fresh fish, but pastry chef Susan Wallace’s Irish soda bread—studded with golden raisins and walnuts—is also pretty great. We scored the recipe so you can bake it up on St. Patrick’s day. (Having a party? Try this tasty Irish whiskey cocktail, too.)

For the walnut- or raisin-averse, Wallace suggests subbing in other dried fruit and nuts such as cherries, cranberries, and almonds. The versatile bread can go sweet or savory, and is equally good with sharp Irish cheddar as it is lightly toasted and spread with Kerrygold butter and a few drizzles of honey.

Susan Wallace’s Irish Soda Bread

Makes one 9-inch loaf

2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, such as Plugrá
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup golden raisins
¾ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Cube the butter into half-inch squares and chill 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees for a convection oven).

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

Using your hands, work butter cubes into flour mixture, squeezing until it forms pea-size pieces, about two minutes. You can also cut the butter into the dough with a pastry blender.

Add buttermilk all at once, and combine with hands or spoon until the dough starts to come together.

Add raisins and walnuts. Continue mixing until dough comes together. The mixture should be very sticky and wet.

Spray or butter a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Form the dough into a medium-size ball and place it on the sheet. Flatten it slightly with your hand so it’s about four inches high.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until light golden brown. (If you’re using a convection oven, turn the fan off after 30 minutes, then continue to cook for 10 more.) When a knife if stuck into the center, it should come out wet, but with dry crumbs attached.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.