Apricot Orange Irish Soda Bread

Apricot Orange Irish Soda Bread is rustic and crusty on the outside, and moist and tangy on the inside.  It’s studded with chopped apricots and orange zest for a sunny twist on the classic!

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This Apricot Orange Irish Soda Bread was originally posted on March 10, 2013, when I was a blogging newbie.  It was done before I had purchased my Nikon DSLR 5100, and it was in need of upgraded photos.  Irish soda bread, I hope these new photos do you better justice. 🙂

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I decided to do a fresh little reboot on this entire post, because it’s one that’s really special to me.  This was the first post that ever generated a significant amount of traffic to my blog, and it was all because Lori Lange of Recipe Girl happens to love Irish soda bread too, and she saw my post and tweeted about it.  I learned that day what the power of one tweet from a big blogger like her could do for a little blogger like me, and did I ever appreciate it.  Last year she even included this bread in her 7 Delicious Irish Soda Bread Recipes round up on the Parade’s Community Table blog, which blew me away.  It’s nice to know somebody out there loves Irish soda bread as much as I do. 😉

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I owe my love of Irish soda bread to my sons’ first grade teacher, because she made it from scratch and brought it to school for her classroom St. Patrick’s Day feast.  I loved it, and I never knew how easy it was to make!  That was 6 years ago, and I’ve been making it ever since.

This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe, which I haven’t done much tweaking with at all.  I made it whole grain this time around by swapping out half of the all purpose flour with half whole wheat white, and used a bit less sugar.  This bread’s pretty perfect, and one day maybe I’ll tinker around with things, but for now, if it ain’t broke, I’m not fixing it. 🙂

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The fun part is coming up with different flavorings from the original version, which contained currants and orange zest.  Somewhere along the line I thought adding chopped apricots to the mix instead of currants would be a good idea, and I fell for it. I bumped up the orange zest, because the more orange flavor the better in my book.  The result is a sunny, bright soda bread with plenty of spring appeal. 🙂

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I love spreading orange marmalade on my soda bread for breakfast, and the citrusy, slightly bitter marmalade and the sweet chewy dried apricots make one great combination.  If marmalade isn’t your thing, just straight up butter will always do the trick.

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Whether you decide to make this as a side for your traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal or make it any old day for breakfast is no matter — it’s easy, it’s delicious, and you can’t go wrong, because  there’s never anything better than homemade bread is there?  There’s not in my world anyway. 🙂

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Need more Irish soda bread inspiration?  Coming right at ya:

mini irish soda bread with blood orange marmalade1

 

Brown Butter Soda Bread from Recipe Girl

Cinnamon Raisin Irish Soda Bread from Baker’s Royale

Irish Soda Bread Scones with Salty Whisky Butter by A Cozy Kitchen

Irish Stout Soda Bread by Yes, more please!

 

Apricot Orange Irish Soda Bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Apricot Orange Irish Soda Bread is rustic and crusty bread studded with dried apricots and bursting with orange flavor!
Serves: About 12 large slices or 24 small slices
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon to toss with the dried apricots
  • 2 cups whole wheat white flour*
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½" dice
  • 1¾ cup cold low fat buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or use your handheld electric mixer. Mix the dry ingredients on low speed.
  3. Add the cold butter cubes and mix on low speed until the butter is completely mixed into the dry ingredients. Use your fingers if necessary to work any large chunks of butter into the flour.
  4. Using a fork, beat the egg, buttermilk, and zest in a measuring cup. Turn the mixer on low speed, and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.
  5. Toss the dried apricots with the reserved tablespoon of flour, then mix into the dough on low speed just until combined. The dough will be VERY wet!
  6. Pour the dough out onto a well floured surface and sprinkle with flour. Flour your hands, and knead a few times until it's in the shape of a round loaf. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, cut a small "X" into the center.
  7. Bake 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Notes
*I like to make this bread whole grain, but you may substitute the white whole wheat flour for all purpose flour (4 cups + 1 tablespoon total).

This bread is delicious with butter or orange marmalade for breakfast, or as a side dish with your corned beef and cabbage!

Heavily adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Irish Soda Bread.