Is Irish soda bread healthy?
One of the best things about a healthy Irish Soda Bread is that it can be prepared quickly! Soda bread is classified as a quick bread which means it doesn’t rely on the time yeast needs to grow for the rise we see in other breads.
History About Healthy Irish Soda Bread
Although we associate soda bread with the Irish, American Indians were the earliest references in using soda ash to make bread rise.
The Irish are known for it because the country was plagued by poverty and emigration and soda bread was a staple with its easy preparation, inexpensive ingredients, and soft wheat being the only suitable flour that could grow in Ireland’s climate.
Due to this, it is one of the more popular recipes handed down to the generations to come. With modern technology and our knowledge of nutritional properties of the food, we have been able to modify traditional recipes to make healthy Irish Soda Bread!
Is Irish Soda Bread Healthy?
Between its straightforward recipe, short preparation and cooking time, and delicious taste, this is at the top of my list of bread to make!
From traditional to added dried fruits, nuts and seeds, cheeses, and herbs, you can make your healthy Irish Soda Bread filled with heart healthy nutrients!
When making a healthy Irish Soda Bread, it is important to look at the ingredients you are using.
My tips for making a healthier Irish Soda Bread:
Tip # 1: Use whole wheat flour or a mixture of buckwheat and all-purpose flour will increase the fiber, protein, and antioxidant content of your bread.
High fiber food lowers cholesterol, a factor that when high, increases our risk for heart disease, helps the digestive tract, and enhances satiety, or fullness.
Antioxidants reduce our risks of cancers and heart disease.
Tip # 2: Add a variety of dried fruit such as cranberries, raisins, apricots, or any other dried fruit you want!
Dried fruit adds so much nutritional value because fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
Tip # 3: Add a variety of nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pecans, sliced almonds, or sunflower seeds!
Incorporating different nuts and seeds provides our recipe with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
Healthy Irish Soda Bread Recipe
To make a traditional Irish Soda Bread, Nana O’Hanlon’s recipe is as Irish as they come! Born and raised in Armagh, Ireland, she came to America with her husband and had 5 children. Her favorite thing to do was bake Irish Soda Bread and lemon filled donuts.
She eventually opened 5 donut shops in the US to continue her love for baking. Check out Nana O’Hanlon’s famous Irish Soda Bread recipe that will transport you to her homeland with one bite!
• 2 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
• 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
• 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
• ¼ teaspoons Baking Soda
• ½ teaspoons Salt
• 1 tablespoon Butter
• 1 cup Raisins
• 1 cup Milk
• 1 Egg
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and raisins.
4. Incorporate pieces of butter into the dry ingredient mix.
5. In a small bowl, mix together milk and eggs. Combine wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.
6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round shape and place in prepared baking sheet.
7. Cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
8. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the load comes out clean, around 45-55 minutes. Check for doneness after 40 minutes. Serve with butter, jam, or honey
Healthy Irish Soda Bread Recipe Swap
For my healthy Irish Soda Bread, I had swapped all-purpose flour with a mixture of ⅓ buckwheat flour and ⅔ all-purpose flour to give it a hearty approach.
I added 1 cup of dried cranberries for sweetness and ¼ cup of sunflower seeds for crunch.
Do you prefer a traditional Irish Soda Bread or do you like to venture out for something sweet, hearty, or savory?
Leave your experience and recipe modifications in the comments!
Special thanks to Mikaela Dicomitis, a dietetic and nutrition student at the University of Rhode who contributed a great deal to this article. She is studying to become a Registered Dietitian. Follow her nutrition adventures on Instagram and Linkedin.