Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Family Favorite Irish Soda Bread Recipe

It's that time of the year again, when foods that shouldn't ought to be green - like bagels and McDonald's milkshakes - are, and you can't swing a shillelagh without hitting a leprechaun decoration. Yes, St. Patrick's Day draws nigh.

I have been asked again for my Irish Soda Bread recipe, so I have copied it below. For my full treatise on all things soda bread and corned beef related, see my original post at the following link:
St. Patricks Day classic cuisine - recipes and a little history

Irish Soda Bread

Here is my family's favorite recipe for a classic Irish Soda Bread (with raisins). Simple ingredients, easy to make, customize as you please.

Irish Soda Bread recipe

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (plus a little extra for dusting)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 stick (1/4 pound) butter (cold)
  • 2 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk*

*you can substitute regular milk with 3 tablespoons of white vinegar added; wait 10 minutes for the milk to curdle

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter. Mix well. Stir in the raisins.

Add the buttermilk and egg while mixing using a large spoon - or your hands! Mix well enough to get everything well moistened with no dry pockets; adjust milk amount if necessary. Don't overmix or you can make the bread chewy.

Turn the bread out onto a board dusted with flour. Dust the dough, knead lightly, divide in half, form into two rounds, and place them onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Use a knife dipped in flour to score a cross on the top of each loaf. (Helps the center to cook evenly.)

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees, until the outside is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Cool on a wire rack.


  • You can bake it in loaf pans, a cast iron skillet, cupcake tins(!), or (my brother's idea) angel food pans.
  • A few tablespoons of caraway seeds. (Not my cuppa tea.)
  • Those who prefer a less rich soda bread can cut back on the butter, raisins, and especially the sugar.
  • For a heartier (and healthier) texture, substitute whole wheat for up to half of the flour.
  • A few teaspoons of grated orange zest gives a nice flavor. (credit Ina Garten from the Food Network.
  • Makes a great scone. Partially flatten a softball size mound and cut into even slices like a pie. Or just make small rounds. Bake as above.

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