Irish Soda Bread from an Irish Grandmother


I have been using various recipes for Irish Soda Bread for many years. Over a decade ago, my daughter in Idaho sent me a recipe that came from the Irish grandmother of one of her former co-workers. It surpasses anything that I’d ever made before and I pass it along to you in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day next week.


1 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup cold butter
½ cup raisins (she adds a bit more)
¼ cup caraway and fennel seeds mixed (she adds a bit more of this, too)
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Measure and combine dry ingredients.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or in a food processor).

Stir in desired amount of raisins and caraway/fennel. Stir in buttermilk.

Turn dough onto floured board and knead a few minutes, adding flour until dough is not too sticky.

Form into a ball and place in greased and floured round baking pan. Cut a deep cross on top.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, brush top with simple syrup made of sugar, water, nutmeg and continue baking a few more minutes.

Let cool 15-20 minutes before removing from pan.

Add a big pot of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, onions, and peppercorns so you’ll think you are back in old Ireland.

A hui hou!

6 thoughts on “Irish Soda Bread from an Irish Grandmother”

  1. I love Irish Soda Bread. A recipe I have was given to me by one of my clients when I had the Kitchen Shop in the Miami area in Florida….Her grandmother was also Irish and she (my client) was originally from Boston…she also added caraway and raisins. I read someone earlier today made a comment on another site saying that REAL Irish don’t add raisins and caraway and I wanted to say that them were fighting words.. 😉
    I will try your recipe – mine doesn’t call for buttermilk…

    BTW, cabbage is ok, but I prefer colcannon…..I LOVE that sruff!

    1. This was so good I wanted to sit down and eat the whole thing all by myself. But I asked a friend to stop for tea and sent her home with a big hunk of it. My biggest food downfall is homemade bread of any kind. This is so decadent, I don’t dare make it often! 🙂 Where do people come up wioth ideas that “Real” this or that don’t eat it this or that way?? I think they make it up! 🙂
      As always, thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  2. hello. i have only started trying some of your recipe”s from the book, but i was hoping you could suggest an alternative to caraway seeds. can”t do dill, caraway or rye seeds in any shape or fashion lol. thank you

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