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Irish Soda Bread

As promised, here is the fantastic recipe for a traditional Irish Soda Bread, given to me from Sharon Cereska. The recipe writer in me couldn’t help but rewrite it a little bit, but I only changed one actual ingredient from the original recipe, and that was using unsalted butter instead of margarine. I don’t use or buy margarine, sorry, can’t help being a foodie snob about that one!

My reworded recipe is first and Sharon’s original family recipe is below. But first, here is what Sharon wrote to me when she sent the recipe, accompanied by a lovely treasured family photo of hers.  Thank you Sharon for sharing with me and everyone out there in the blog-a-sphere.

“Hi Linda,

Attached is the recipe for my parent’ Irish soda bread along with a photo of my dad, Jim Duffy and his first grandson Daniel. I have wonderful memories of my family making many, many loaves of Duffy’s Irish Soda Bread around Christmas.  It is a tradition that my brother, sister and I also do with our kids.  I was really close to my dad and I still miss him.  Dad was a true Irishman.  He told great jokes and was incredibly loving. He died suddenly when I was in college. I know he would get a kick out of seeing his recipe on your blog.

Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day.  I hope Duffy’s Irish soda bread becomes a March tradition in your house too.


Duffy’s Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg
1  3/4 cups buttermilk, shake well before measuring

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray two 8-inch cake or pie pans with Pam.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (Mixture may be stored in zip-lock bags and refrigerated until ready to use.)

Beat egg slightly and mix with buttermilk, add to dry ingredients, and stir until blended.  Turn out on a floured board and knead for a minute or two with floured hands until smooth.

Use a knife or pastry scraper to divide the dough in half and shape it into a round loaf. Place each loaf into the prepared pans, and press down until dough fills the pan.  With a serrated knife, cut a 1/2-inch cross in the center of each loaf.  Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and turn out onto a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Makes two loaves

And now the recipe as it was sent to me by Sharon…

Duffy’s Irish Soda Bread

4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 c (1/8 lb.) margarine
1 egg
1  3/4 cup buttermilk

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add margarine and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until crumbly.

(Note: If preparing for a large number of loaves, for gift giving, future use, or the like, the combined dry ingredients, including the cut-in margarine, may be stored in Zip-lock bags until ready to use.  No refrigeration is necessary when margarine is used.)

Beat egg slightly and mix with buttermilk.  Add to dry ingredients and stir until blended.  Turn out on a floured board and knead until smooth, 2- 3 minutes (Linda, I never knead that long.)

Divide the dough in half and shape it into a round loaf. Place each loaf in an 8-inch cake or pie pan, and press down until dough fills the pan.  With a knife, cut a cross atop each loaf – a good ½ inch deep at the center.  Bake in a moderately hot oven, 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Makes two loaves.

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1 Marissa { 03.15.11 at 10:47 AM }

Yum yum yum coming over now for a slice

2 Sharon { 03.15.11 at 1:16 PM }

Your bread looks delicious! Thank you for using my dad’s recipe in your blog. What a cool way to honor him. My dad loved being creative in the kitchen and was well known for his Irish Soda Bread. I usually use butter too, but will try the recipe with unsalted butter tomorrow. Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day.

3 Linda Hopkins { 03.15.11 at 1:24 PM }

Thank YOU, Sharon, my absolute (and yummy) pleasure!

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