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Irish Soda Bread is apparently not as old as many think. It originated after the famine and after Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) was invented. Baking Soda appeared somewhere around the 1840’s and became commercially produced in 1846. This is a yeast free bread, commonly known as a quick bread because it did not require time to rise.

True Traditional Irish Soda Bread does not contain raisins or currants. The oldest known written recipe consists of flour, baking soda, water and buttermilk. (source: NOV 1836 Farmer’s Magazine (London) p.328 referencing Irish newspaper in County Down).

The recipes of today have gone far beyond that. What most people consider as Irish Soda Bread contains raisins or currents. It is not uncommon to find recipes with eggs, citrus, or exotic fruits. There are even some recipes out there that include yeast, which defeats the whole point of a soda bread.

In the tradition of corrupted Soda Bread recipes I will you mine, this has come down from grandmother so I can call it a family tradition, but to be honest I think she picked it out of Betty Crocker.

  • 3 T Butter
  • 2 1⁄2 c All-purpose flour
  • 2 T Sugar
  • 1 T Baking soda
  • 1 T baking powder plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1⁄2 T Salt
  • 1⁄3 C Raisins, if desired
  • 3⁄4 C buttermilk
Mix until it’s all crumbly, then turn onto a floured surface and knead it until it is smooth. Shape it into a round loaf or put into a buttered bread pan and bake at 375ºF for about 40 minutes. The loaf should be golden brown and have a hollow when tapped on the bottom. Turn the loaf out and lightly brush with butter.
You now have a “Traditional” Irish Soda Bread.
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