Irish Soda Bread 1

Saint Patrick’s day is in a few days and although I’m not Irish I have a penchant for Irish Soda Bread.  During my undergraduate years I worked at a sales rep company and while that information is unimportant, what is important is that I had a co-worker whose last name was Sullivan and his mother made tons of Irish Soda Bread and sent it to him.  Since he couldn’t eat it all, he brought most of them to us at work.  I’ve never had Irish Soda Bread that was as good or with the same texture.  It’s hard to explain because the bread was sweeter than any other recipe I’ve had and it wasn’t as dry or as brown.  It was sort of like a scone.  Unfortunately I never asked for the recipe and I’ve been looking for something similar since but I’ve never found it.

This recipe is quite tasty and moist; sort of like a quick bread.  I’ve modified the original recipe to my tastes.  I normally send a couple of loaves to a friend that I don’t get to see too often and she loves it.  She freezes it so she can have some whenever she likes.  I hope you enjoy this recipe too.

After stirring together the dry ingredients and cutting in the butter and mixing very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy, the mixture looks like this.

After mixing is competed.

Ready for the oven.

Hot out of the oven.  Ready, set, eat.

Irish Soda Bread

Yield:  2 or 3 loaves                Cook Time:  50 – 60 minutes


  • 5 cups sifted all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
  • 1 1/4 cups raisins, soaked in water for 15 to 20 minutes and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk or substitute 2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice to 2 ½ cups milk, stir and wait 10 to 15 minutes
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter 2 9 x 5 inch pans or 3 8 x 4 inch pans.  Alternatively you can use cooking spray.

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender at first and then mix very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy.  Stir in raisins.

Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture.  Stir until well moistened.  Pour mixture into 2 or 3 loaf pans.

Bake for to 50 – 60 minutes.  Test with a toothpick for doneness.  Cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Recipe adapted from, courtesy of Brother Rick Curry, The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking, HaperPerennial, 1995.

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