Our loyal reader, Maureen Marino, has this to say about her recipe for Irish Soda Bread: This recipe comes from my Aunt Rita, from a very long time ago. She wrote at the bottom, “Nobody outside the family has this recipe. There are many variations but not the same. Even a baker from Ireland asked for it but he didn’t get it.” Coming from a very large Irish family, we have always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, with the Grey Corned Beef and cabbage and all the fixings to the Irish step dancing that would always take place in the home. I have made some adjustments to this recipe, but only to soaking the raisins in the Jameson!
Find more family favorite recipes, and the stories behind them, in The Old Farmer’s Almanac Reader’s Best Recipes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour a loaf or cake pan. If using cast iron, put into cold oven and preheat as oven warms. Grease with butter before putting dough into it.
In a bowl, combine raisins and liquor, set aside to soak, and stir occasionally.
In another bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs and buttermilk. Add to flour mixture and stir to blend. Add butter, raisins and whiskey, and caraway seeds (if using) and stir.
Pour into prepared pan, smooth to level dough, and bury raisins as much as possible.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Or, out of pan, check to see if bottom is golden brown. Or tap bread: Hollow sound indicates bread is done. Let cool before wrapping.