Irish(?) Soda Bread

January 16, 2012

Soda Bread

I ran into a recipe for Irish Soda Bread recently, and I couldn't wait for St. Patrick's Day to try it. However, after doing a little research, I've learned that any recipe for Irish Soda Bread that consists of anything other than these four main components - flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk - is not worthy of the word "traditional."

Soda Bread Soda Bread

So it seems that this recipe is a modern (or Americanized) take on traditional Irish Soda Bread. The leavening is still produced by the reaction between the baking soda and the buttermilk, but there are additional ingredients that lend cake-like qualities to the bread. It's delicious, of course, and very simple to make, but from what I've gathered, it's much different than anything you'll actually find in Ireland.

Soda Bread

I'd be very interested if anyone has anything to add on the topic.

Irish(?) Soda Bread
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup raisins (or any other dried fruit)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 large beaten egg
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Grease a cast-iron skillet, or line a baking sheet.

Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda together in a bowl. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse crumb. (Alternately, you can combine the flour mixture with the butter in a food processor to achieve the same result.)

Add the rasins and the caraway seeds, and stir until evenly distributed. Form a well in the center and add the egg and the buttermilk. Stir until just combined, and then use your hands to knead two or three times until you have formed the dough into a shaggy ball.

Place your dough in a cast-iron skillet or baking sheet. Score an X on the top, and place in the oven on the center rack. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Check for doneness by inserting a knife or a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean, remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe very slightly adapted from Simply Recipes.


  1. I like the combination of raisins and caraway seeds in the bread. It looks great.

  2. I haven't made Irish Soda bread in years and I love the addition of raisins with caraway..Yum! The weather this week calls for this recipe for sure. - Stay warm! xo

  3. very rustic.
    The closest i have been to anything irish is
    1. been to ireland
    2. having an irish brother in law
    3. being married to a man who has a bit of irish in his blood.
    ha. i would love to try making this!

  4. I always plan to make soda bread for St. Patrick's Day and then forget. Yours looks really yummy though.

  5. I looked in a few of my cook books for different takes on this..Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, has a recipe very similar to this one..with the addition of caraway seeds and raisins too. She does remark that this is richer than the 'traditional' Irish Soda Bread. - I think I'll take a few books to bed and look some more've got curious now! xo

  6. Your research is right - this is closer to a fruit loaf really. My nana's family were Irish, If you'd like I can give you the 'family' recipe? We cheat by adding seasoning!

    Seeing as you like fruit loaf, and I know you like tea, your should try Bara Brith, which is a Welsh tea bread. It's lovely.