Thursday, March 12, 2009

Irish Soda Bread

That much-loved Feast Day, St. Patrick's Day, is just around the corner now. I used to think that St. Patrick's Day was a waste -- a waste of good beer dyed green (well, maybe not so good), and a waste of good time spent doing obnoxious things in the name of a beloved saint. Now I just sit back and giggle that a whole lot of secular people are celebrating a religious feast day. I'm not sure if St. Patrick is giggling with me.

Since we celebrate so many feast days with food in our house, it's no surprise that we feast on St. Patrick's Day as well. I haven't firmed up the dinner menu yet (maybe a lovely Shepherd Pie), but I know that this well-loved bread will be on the table. I can't say for certain that this particular recipe is really very Irish (because I'm not Irish at all). Heck, it was just a year ago that I found out that Corned Beef and Cabbage doesn't have any roots at all in the Emerald Isle. But, we love the taste and the texture, and because it's not a yeast bread, it's very quick to make. I enjoy it all year 'round. Besides being great with supper, it's a treat at tea time, with some butter and jam, and it's something yummy on Saturday morning as you're running out the door. If the kids are not fond of caraway seeds, you can leave them out, but that's my favorite part!

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 cup butter, cold
1 T. caraway seeds
1 cup raisins
1½ cups buttermilk
1 egg
1 T. half and half or milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
Using pastry cutter, or your fingers, cut in butter until crumbly.
Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk and egg.

Stir until combined.
If dough is too dry, add buttermilk by the tablespoonful until it holds together.
It should resemble rough biscuit dough.
Press dough into a round, dome-shaped loaf.
Place loaf on prepared baking sheet.
Brush loaf with milk or half & half.
Press a cross into the top with a sharp knife or bench knife.
Sprinkle with caraway seeds if desired.

Bake until loaf is deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean,
about 60 minutes. Cool on a rack.

When completely cool, wrap with plastic wrap.

Pin It


  1. This looks wonderful.
    Has anyone else heard that originally St. Pat color was blue and not green? Just wondering?

    1. Yes. It was but it's one of those things I just always knew but never knew why it changed. Happy St Patrick's Day!

  2. This was super easy and so good. Thank you. Everyone loved it!