Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I wasn’t planning on making anything special for today, since my husband’s birthday was the day before yesterday so we have plenty of cake and dinner leftovers. But then I remembered my friend K sent me this recipe last year and I still hadn’t tried it and I love Irish soda bread but hardly ever have it. Plus, this recipe comes from K’s Northern Irish friend’s mother. An authentic, straight-from-Ireland recipe? Sold!

This is a quick bread, so it came together… quickly. Whisk together dry ingredients, add raisins, mix together wet ingredients, add those to the dry, plop it in a loaf pan, scoot it into the oven, and you’re done. Most Irish soda breads I’ve seen are round, not loaf-shaped, but I’m sure you could make this in a round cake pan, you’d probably just have to adjust the baking time.

This is a delicious bread! Soft, almost spongy in texture (in a good way!), moist and slightly sweet. I imagine there are about as many Irish soda bread recipes out there as there are Irish families. I’m used to a drier, more crumbly kind of soda bread. I like both kinds, actually. The recipe calls for 3 cups of all-purpose flour but I used 2 cups AP and 1 cup of white whole wheat flour – I don’t think you can detect that there’s whole wheat in it.

Irish Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour (or 2 cups AP and 1 cup white whole wheat)

2/3 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ¼ cups golden raisins (half a box) or regular raisins if you prefer

2 large eggs

2 cups of buttermilk (not too fresh, it gets better as it approaches the expiration date)

2 tablespoons of butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a large loaf pan (mine is about 10 x 5 and fit perfectly).
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Add the raisins and mix well. Combine the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter in a small bowl – mix well with the whisk.
  3. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until just moistened. DO NOT OVERMIX – it will not taste as good and lose its texture.
  4. Dump into prepared pan and bake for about an hour. (Mine took 55 minutes.) Test for doneness with a toothpick. Remove from pan and cool on rack.

Serve warm or cold with some good butter.