What is a soda bread? Maybe you aren’t familiar with this type of bread, but traditionally, a lot of people celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with soda bread. And in case you’re thinking it: yes, there are other ways to celebrate than with green beer. For this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day, I’m taking the traditional recipe and turning it into the perfect Irish soda bread scones!
Let’s go on a soda bread history lesson
- Historically, soda bread was prepared a lot in Ireland. The bread was inexpensive to bake with simple ingredients that most people had on hand.
- Years ago, yeast was hard to find and bicarbonate, or baking soda, was cheap. The prevalence of baking soda is the reason why this bread utilities only this leavening agent.
- To cause a reaction, baking soda needs to have something acidic, and sour milk was almost always around. Today, we use buttermilk.
Soda bread is good but I don’t really find myself making it a lot. Once in a while when I want a loaf of bread and don’t have much time, I’ll opt for this type of bread. It’s super quick and moist, but not always exciting.
Recently I realized that soda bread is the perfect formula for scones. And since this is the year of brunch, well, pairing scones and soda bread is a match made in heaven! My tried and
Scones are that carb we all crave for brunch. Can I get an amen?! But the base for this recipe is soda bread and soda bread by itself is now what I’d call “sweet.” And I think it’s against the law to have scones without at least a touch of sweetness. Maybe that’s just a law here in Iowa? (Totally joking.)
Here’s what I add to my scones
To add that punch of sweetness within the scone itself, frozen blueberries are my go-to option. Typically, they’re flash frozen when ripe, so they retain their flavor. As a bonus, frozen blueberries don’t bleed into the batter when mixed and sliced.
The blueberries help to add sweetness, but a glaze really is the finishing touch. This time of year, oranges are at their peak. No, unfortunately not in Iowa.
The sweetness and flavor of the orange mixed into the glaze give the scones a shiny, sugary topping that everyone will want to grab.
Watch how to make these Irish soda bread scones:
Orange Blueberry Irish Soda Bread Scones
For the scones
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp cold butter
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 egg
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- 3 tbsp orange juice
- ½ tsp orange blossom water (optional, but adds intense orange flavor)
- 2 cups frozen blueberries
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp orange juice
For the scones
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine.
- With the mixer running on low, add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Allow each addition of butter to mix in for 30 seconds before adding the next. Once all the butter is added, the mixture should look like coarse sand.
- Turn the mixer off and combine the wet ingredients. Whisk the buttermilk, vanilla, egg, orange zest, orange juice, and orange blossom water to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until moistened and shaggy, about 1 minute.
- Place dough on a well-floured board and knead until smooth. Pat into a roughly 16-inch circle. Pour blueberries on top and press in. Fold dough over on itself, kneading the blueberries into the dough. Press into a 12-inch circle. Cut into 8 equal wedges and set on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden, 20-25 minutes. While baking, prepare the glaze.
- Once the sones are baked, remove them from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the baking pan. Then transfer to a cooling rack. Glaze the scones while slightly warm.
For the glaze
- In a large bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add the orange zest and juice. Whisk until smooth, adding more orange juice for a thinner glaze and more sugar for a thicker glaze.