The Sunday Recipe: Irish Soda Buns


It is time to embrace cooking substitutions!

This past Tuesday was St. Patrick’s Day and that’s a traditional time for Irish Soda Bread. I was a little overwhelmed with everything going on to prepare for working from home, but I still wanted to make a special meal. I did a quick search for Irish Soda buns, which would bake faster. I found a great recipe from the New York Times cooking blog at, but of course I didn’t have exactly what I needed so here come the substitutions.

This is a great recipe because it already uses some stuff that you might have on hand, and you can substitute for other things. I didn’t have yeast on hand so this was a perfect recipe for me because the leavening is a combination of baking soda, baking powder, and egg.

I didn’t have whole wheat pastry flour, so I used some whole wheat flour – it was fine. I didn’t have caraway seeds and I didn’t want them, so I left them out. I did have some older dried currants, a little out dated but they were fine too. Raisins would be great, or chopped dates, or whatever you like and have on hand. I had unsalted butter but if you just have regular butter or shortening or coconut oil – it’s all okay! Even vegetable oil can be mixed in instead.

Embrace substitutions.

If you don’t have buttermilk, substitute milk and vinegar or lemon juice. The ratio is 1 cup of milk to a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice then let it sour for fifteen minutes or so.

My recipe went like this.

Irish Soda Bread Buns


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup dried currants


  1. Preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together the fours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or a couple knives.
  4. Stir the currants in.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. (If you’re using oil instead of butter, put it in here.)
  6. Stir wet ingredients into dry.
  7. Turn out onto a floured surface and, with floured hands shape into eight portions.
  8. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until firm.
  9. Enjoy!

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