Irish Soda Bread

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up next weekend, I figured we’d better get to the baking.


I hadn’t had Irish Soda Bread in years – I remembered it being dense and dry – until recently, when a local shop was offering up some samples. It was soft and sweet, with some tangy caraway seeds, a great crunch of sugar on top, and way more addictive than I ever could have imagined. I decided it was important the that I attempt to re-create something similar.



This is a super easy recipe, especially if you have a Kitchen Aid. I skipped most of the photos because the recipe is so simple, and have just one baking note: when all of your ingredients are mixed, the dough will be really sticky. When you go to dump the dough on the counter to knead it, it might feel like dough is so wet it won’t work. Just be sure to have a well floured board, and it’ll be fine.


Also, if you can – be sure to add the sugar on top. It really adds a great sweet crunch to the bread.


Here’s what my sticky dough pile looked like, after I dumped it onto the counter and piled it together



and then once it was kneaded, with cross-cut and sugared on top.




And here’s the final product





Irish Soda Bread

adapted from Ina Garten

printer-friendly version


4 ½ cups flour, plus extra for raisins

½  cup sugar

1  teaspoon baking soda

2  teaspoons baking powder

1  ½ teaspoons kosher salt

2  teaspoons caraway seeds

6  tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch dice

1 ¾  cups cold buttermilk, shaken

1  extra-large egg

grated zest from one lemon

1  cup raisins

raw sugar





Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or silpat.


Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and caraway seeds in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low-speed until butter is mixed into the flour.


With a whisk, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and lemon zest together in a liquid measuring cup. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the raisins with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. The dough will be very wet.


Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet plan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Sprinkle top with sugar. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.


Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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