Recipe Recipe: Irish Soda Bread

My cookbook love is well documented, and, as I’ve said before, Kathleen’s Bake Shop is a favorite. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, (a special day in our lives because it’s also Sammy’s birthday), I’m sharing a recipe for Irish soda bread based on the one in her cookbook.

You: What the heck is soda bread? Is this more about your Diet Coke addiction?

Me: Good question. [sips Diet Coke loudly] Soda, in this case, refers to sodium bicarbonate, which is used to leaven the dough. Traditional breads use yeast, so these types of breads are called soda breads. [Thank you, Wikipedia]

My twist calls for soaking the raisins in rum before baking. The alcohol burns as it cooks, but the rum flavor adds a richness. If you opt to soak the raisins in rum, place raisins in a container and cover with very hot water to ‘plump.’ Let raisins sit in hot water for 5-10 minutes, and then drain. Return raisins to a container and pour rum over raisins. Let raisins marinate for a minimum of 24 hours before using. Make sure to drain raisins before adding them to the recipe.


  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Raisins (I soaked mine in rum)
  • 3 Tbs Caraway Seeds (optional)
  • 2 cups Buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Using a pastry blender, fork (or your hands), cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal
  4. Add raisins & caraway seeds and toss lightly
  5. Add buttermilk and toss mixture with a fork (I use  my hands, or get out the mixer) until all dry ingredients are moistened. The dough will be very soft.
  6. Divide dough into two balls and lightly knead on a floured surface until dough is smooth.
  7. Place shaped balls on cookie sheet, and with a sharp knife, cut an X on the top of each loaf, about 1/4″ deep.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until crusty and golden.
Recipe with my notes (and maybe a few coffee stains).


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You know that friend who has it all together? Yeah. That’s not me. What I can offer you instead are my experiences, insights, and passions. Pithy observations about making cookies. Wry commentary on running a business. Loving (if slightly sarcastic) parenting advice. And if that doesn’t interest you, I have dogs. Cute ones.

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