Mom’s Irish Soda Bread

Growing up, Saint Patrick’s Day was one of my favorite holidays. We made Irish soda bread, had corned beef and cabbage, and I got to wear cute green socks, shamrock tattoos on my cheeks, and other fun things. Then, in college, I attended the Scranton parade every year – a true showing of debauchery. And now that I spend most of my time in the kitchen, I was able to try my hand at Irish soda bread, without the help of my mom.

Both of my parents are mostly Irish, my father’s grandparents being immigrants (it goes back a bit further on my mom’s side). It’s no secret I’m Irish – my hair is dark with hints of red and curly, I freckle as soon as my skin sees the sun, and I “tan” red (aka not at all). No one in my family has brown eyes, and in keeping with the¬†stereotypes, I love potatoes and beer. Though my taste buds have changed and I don’t enjoy corned beef, I do still love boiled cabbage, especially when it’s colcannon.

For the average person, Irish soda bread might seem a little bland. But the Irish weren’t ever really known for their flavorful foods. I personally love it, especially when it’s warmed up with some butter. The best part is that because it makes such a large loaf, there’s plenty left over to enjoy for breakfast, or as a snack.

I wound up bringing a loaf to work and everyone loved it! I always feel so accomplished when a large group tries something I’ve made and they have rave reviews. In addition to my soda bread there were green cupcakes, and a giant cookie cake with a shamrock on it. I’m happy to report that my bread was finished first!

This is the recipe that my mom has been following for years. I can’t remember it ever being any different. Although a few times she tried to sneak in some caraway seeds (I’m not a fan). I’m thinking maybe I won’t wait until next March 17th to make this again…

Irish Soda Bread
– makes one loaf –

2 Cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 Cup softened butter (half the stick)
3/4 Cup rasins
1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
1 Cup buttermilk
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tbsp water

1. Sift flower sugar baking powder, soda and salt into large mixing bowl. Cut in butter until like coarse meal.
2. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds. Add buttermilk, mix to moisten the dry ingredients.
3. Put onto floured surface and knead for several minutes until smooth.
4. Form dough into round ball place on greased baking sheet. Flatten ball until about 1/2 inch high
5. Brush top and sides with egg/water mixture. Cut a 1/2 inch deep cross in top.
6. Bake at 375 degree for 30-40 min. or until toothpick comes out clean
7. Cool on wire rack. Brush top with butter, or serve butter alongside the bread

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