My Irish Family’s Irish Soda Bread Irish Recipe

This is the recipe for my dear aul’ sainted mother’s Irish soda bread, as told to her by her Wexfordian grandma, as told to me, as told to you. I don’t recommend you make it! I’m not even sure it’s “our” recipe or just something they pulled off of a bag of flour from the early 1900s.

Kearney Bread

According to the proscriptions of our holy St. Patrick the Incessant, except that’s a lie.

Preheat oven to 375℉.

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 box of raisins (what’s that, 4 oz?)
  • Butter knob the size of a walnut. (Assuming that’s in the shell, it’s what, 2 tbsp? Recipe says 2 tbsp in parentheses. Hooray! I can eyeball it.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c of sour milk / buttermilk (I guess you could use yogurt, or any similarly lactobacterial dairy, or maybe even just millk+vinegar)

Optional: Honey to drizzle atop loaf prior to baking (this is my addition, but I recommend it)

Steps

They’re easy! Combine dry ingredients. Mix in butter. Then mix in egg. Then mix in buttermilk. All done! Bake at 375℉ for 50 minutes.

Oh, you want details? Fine. You can do this by hand in a well if you don’t have a mixer or just want to hit things. Roll it around, knead it, punch it for two, three minutes till smooth or at least till it respects your authority. (you can add honey at this stage if you want, but I wait till the dough’s sitting in loaf form atop the pan.) You want it somewhere between moist and sticky. It won’t have the consistency of regular flour loaves. It’ll be a little closer to cookie dough (but not much). Form into a round loaf. Place on a greased pan or cookie sheet.

Cut a shallow cross in the top so demons can’t get in. Also, so the middle cooks better. Too deep and it will dry out.

Throw it in the purifying fires of the oven. Bake about 50 minutes, but I would start checking after 35 minutes. It’s done when you tap it with your knuckle, and it sounds hollow but firm, it’s done. the cross will have spread out, Chi-Ro Constantine old school style. It’s good to paint it with butter after it comes out of the oven for flavor and to prevent too much crusting.

Let it cool before slicing very thin. Never serve thick!

It’s a good sop-up bread for something thick like this here butternut squash soup I made with beef stock, golden raisins, red onions, and a little orzo. Or, obviously, your corned beef and cabbage.

Mary Storm’s Irish Bread

How would you like a bonus recipe? Here’s one from a family friend in…Good gosh, I have no idea what decade but probably 1970 or earlier.

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • Caraway seeds
  • 1/2 stick margarine / butter (but let’s be honest, if you’re not using Kerrygold, what are you doing?) — so 2 oz
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup raisins

You know the drill: mix dry ingredients, then semi-dry, then wet, down the list. Okay, get it in a pan at 375 for half an hour, then 300 till done. This recipe says, for some reason, “(In skillet, quarter)” which I take to mean cook it in a cast-iron frying pan, then when done cooking, slice it in quarters to let it cool without the steam turning the insides to mush.

There you have it: two authentic(?) Irish soda bread recipes.