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Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk and Raisins is a favorite St. Patrick’s Day tradition at our house. Soft and tender on the inside, with a hint of sweetness, the buttermilk delivers a subtle tang that is absolutely delicious.
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History of Soda Bread
Soda Bread was first created in the late 1830s when the first iteration of baking soda was introduced to the United Kingdom.
During the Great Potato Famine, access to ingredients to make bread became difficult. The inspiration for Irish Soda Bread was born from a necessity for inexpensive, easily obtainable ingredients. Traditional soda bread ingredients were “soft” wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and soured milk.
St. Patrick’s Day in the United States
According to Census data, there are 39.6 million Americans who claim Irish heritage including five million who say they are of Scots-Irish heritage.
That number is almost seven times larger than the entire population of Ireland (6.3 million). After German, Irish is the most common ancestry of Americans with the bulk of those claiming Irish ancestry residing along the eastern seaboard (Irish Central).
So whether you can claim the green or not, according to the National Retail Federation, says half of all Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day each year.
Lucky me– and lucky you! We’re in great company. It’s a big deal at our house as we claim Irish descent, on nearly every branch of our family tree. And celebrate, we do!
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Irish Soda Bread with Buttermilk and Raisins
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cold butter cubed
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more if needed
- 1/3 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse pea-sized crumbs. Add the buttermilk and mix just until it begins to come together. Add additional buttermilk if necessary until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, sprinkle the raisins over the top, and knead a few times to incorporate.
- Pat the dough into a 6 to 7-inch circle. With a floured knife, cut an “x” into the dough, about 1/2 inch deep. Transfer the dough to the parchment-lined baking sheet or cast-iron skillet.
- Bake the Irish Soda Bread for 35 to 45 minutes or until the bread is a beautiful golden brown. Transfer the soda bread to a rack to cool completely before slicing.
Serving IdeasI like to cut the loaf into wedges and served with a pat of Irish butter and a drizzle of honey. It’s also delicious sliced and toasted the next day. Or — make a second loaf for just that reason!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.