This classic recipe bakes up into the best Irish soda bread you can imagine. Bursting with raisins and just the right amount of sweetness. Make sure not to leave out the second part of Step 6 if you know what’s good for you!
My mama has definitely done the lion’s share of work with the Irish recipes I’ve been sharing this week, and here comes the one that is everyone’s favorite, otherwise known as the best Irish soda bread in the world.
(Although personally her scones are number one with me – although this bread is right behind them!)
It’s the hearty, rustic, studded with raisins, sweet but not too sweet, perfect slathered with butter, soda bread of your dreams, and the epitome of Irish comfort food.
…and no St. Patrick’s Day is ever complete without my mama’s soda bread.
So just in time for The Day, here’s what you do!
How do I make Irish soda bread from scratch?
You will be happy to know (at least I am!) that there is no yeast involved (not that I have anything against yeast, I just have unreasonable anxiety about bread that needs to rise, and whether it will or not).
Anyway. The leavening in soda bread is (you guessed it!) baking soda, along with some baking powder.
The rest of the ingredients are ones that you most likely already have in your kitchen – flour, sugar, raisins, butter, eggs.
You might need to go to the store for the buttermilk and the caraway seeds, unless you are me and have those on hand AT ALL TIMES.
You are going to mix the dry stuff in one bowl, and the liquid stuff in another bowl, and then stir them up together until they form a sticky dough.
Next, you need to fold the dough over on itself until it comes together and loses some of that stickiness. We always do this on a Silpat that is dusted with flour.
Add more flour in small increments as you go until your soda bread dough is behaving, and then cut it in half (yes, this recipe makes TWO loaves, because that’s how my mama rolls).
Shape them into rounds and pop them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, and here comes the most important part!
Why do you put a cross on Irish soda bread?
There are various explanations for this last step, but I’ll tell you what my mama says.
You are going to take a serrated knife and cut a cross shape into the top – go about a half inch down into the dough – and then prick the middle of each of the quarters with the tip of the knife.
This is to let all the Irish fairies out, and it is essential. It will also give your bread that lovely crusty shape we all love.
Have a lovely St. Patrick’s Day, and as they say…
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Love and Slainte,