Oirish soda bread recipe

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m sharing my Nanny’s (grandmother’s) straight-from-Portuma-Galway recipe for Oirish soda bread. Like many such recipes, it’s easy to make…and easy to stuff up!


  • 4 cups of all-purpose flou
  • 1.5 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 palm fulls of caraway seeds
  • 1.5-2 cups of raisins
  • approximately 2 cups of buttermilk


  • Cover the bottom oven rack with aluminium foil
  • Pre-heat oven to 375F/190C, with the top rack in the middle (nothing above it)


  • Sift the flour into a large bowl
  • Mix the dry ingredients above, in order. Start perhaps with a whisk, but a large wooden spoon works fine
  • gradually add buttermilk, mixing into the bowl using the handle of a large wooden spoon
  • Dough should be evenly mixed and very moist–it should still stick to your hands, the spoon, etc–but not with any liquid run-off
  • Leave dough to stand for 1 hour with a cover (celo wrap or tea towel)


  • Lightly flour 2 bake sheets
  • Take half the dough and shape into a round “flying saucer” about 1″ high on the centre of each pan
  • Gently carve an X across the top of the dough, so you can see about halfway in
  • Very important: Gently sprinkle enough flour onto the top of the loaf so it’s fully covered: top and sides
  • Put both pans into the oven: bake for approximately 25 minutes. one
  • When you can slide a spatula under the entire loaf without it sticking it’s time for the trick!

The Trick

  • Turn the oven down to 275F/135C.
  • Remove loaves from pans and place directly on upper oven rack
  • Bake for additional 20 minutes
  • Cut into loaves to see that dough is cooked in the middle (leave in for additional 5 minutes until no more gooey dough)
  • Gently tap loaves while upside down to get rid of excess flour
  • Serve with butter and a nice cup of tea!
  • Give a toast to my Nanny, Anna Kathleen Gibbons Egan!

Faile Phadraic!

About John P Egan

Learning technology professional.
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