Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

I like to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. I like to think that I’m contributing to diversity worldwide by celebrating Irish culture. I like to think that wearing all green one day of the year shows my appreciation for everything Irish. But in all honesty, it’s just an excuse for me to cook. And in fact, I have to admit that I have no idea what Saint Patrick’s Day is about beyond Irish soda bread, four leaf clovers and leprechauns.

After some Wikipedia-ing, I’ve discovered what I should’ve shown. Saint Patrick’s Day is actually a religious holiday (hence the cross on top of the bread). These days however, it’s more of a secular occasion that simply celebrates Irish culture. Saint Patrick, whom the holiday is named after, was a Christian missionary and the most generally recognized patron saint. I wish I had some cool story about him, but to be honest, he seems rather a bore. Can we please get back to the food?

Traditional Irish soda bread contains just four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and milk. Over the years and seas however, Irish soda bread has metamorphosed into something that rather resembles a cake. Eggs, baking powder, sugar, and raisins have all managed to infiltrate into the classic recipe resulting in a sweet “bread” that might as well be called a cake. No fear though, sometimes traditional recipes need to be jazzed up. I mean, while it’s nice to have those timeless recipes that bring history into the kitchen, it’s also fun to meddle with recipes and create something new and exciting. After all, cooking is all about experimentation.


3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
4 tbsp flaxseed meal
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup raisins
2 eggs, beaten,
1 1/2 cups buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.
2. Combine flour, oats, flaxseed meal, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in the raisins.
3. Save 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg mixture and set aside for later use. In a second bowl, combine buttermilk, and remaining eggs. Mix well.
4. Stir into the flour mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened and mixture turns into a sticky dough.
5. Place the dough in the prepared baking pan, cut a cross on top, and brush top with reserved egg.
6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool.


  1. Thanks for the recipe! My mom just baked this and we had it with dinner, and it was delicious! We had to improvise a little, since we didn't have any buttermilk in store, but it turned out great, and had the just the right amount of sugariness/sweetness.

    I look forward to more recipes!


  2. Thanks Kevin!
    It's actually really easy to make your own buttermilk! Just put one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar with enough milk to make one cup of liquid together, and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.

  3. That thing is humongous. Wow, that's actually the first time I typed that word out and I must say, it looks awfully strange.

    You should really bring these to school :)