Irish Soda Bread

Photo Credit
Becky Luigart-Stayner
The Editors
Makes 1 loaf.
Maureen Marino, Amherst, Massachusetts
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Our loyal reader, Maureen Marino, got this recipe for Irish Soda Bread from her Aunt Rita, who 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.”

Maureen comes from a large Irish family and always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, with Grey Corned Beef and cabbage and all the fixings to Irish step dancing that would always take place in the home. She has made some adjustments to this recipe, but only to soaking the raisins in Jameson!

Find more family favorite recipes, and the stories behind them, in The Old Farmer’s Almanac Reader’s Best Recipes.

1 cup golden raisins or your preference
1 shot or 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Irish whiskey or any dark liquor
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 to 2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
  1. 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.
  2. In a bowl, combine raisins and liquor and set aside to soak, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In another 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.
  5. Pour into prepared pan, smooth to level dough, and bury raisins as much as possible.
  6. 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 the pan, check to see if bottom is golden brown. You can also tap the bread: A hollow sound indicates the bread is done. 
  7. Let cool before wrapping.
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