Traditional Irish Soda Bread


Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Whether your're celebrating it with Guinness, whiskey or wine, I thought I'd share a recipe that will go with any St. Patrick's Day-themed meal you're having, even if it's just a liquid one. ;)

I grew up in a very Irish American family. After all, my last name is Kennedy, my first name is Celtic for "The Strong" and I was born with Catholic guilt in my veins. When I was a kid, my mom used to make Irish Soda Bread with us for St. Patrick's Day and at my insistence, it had to be green. So the leprechauns would recognize it, obviously. 

Traditional Irish Soda Bread is a St. Patrick's Day staple for me and is far more basic that 95% of the recipes you'll find when you Google it. It requires 4 simple ingredients: all-purpose or wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. And if you make the SanBriego version, it requires a special fifth ingredient: green food coloring.

  • 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose or wheat flour (I used all-purpose) 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups of buttermilk
  • 15 drops of green food coloring

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Lightly grease and flour a 8" round cake pan.
3. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in 2-2 1/2 cups of buttermilk and finally, the food coloring.
4. Flour your hands and the kneading surface and lightly knead the dough for a couple of minutes.
5. Form the dough into the cake pan and cut a cross on top with a knife. Make sure to cut the cross all the way through to the bottom of the pan, not just on the surface of the dough. 
6. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 degrees for an additional 30-35 minutes. 

A lot of recipes will suggest adding currants, raisins or orange zest to your bread. Traditional Irish Soda Bread doesn't contain any of these things, but it probably wasn't green either. :) Enjoy a slice with melted butter or serve it as a side to some Shepherd's Pie like we did last night. Sláinte!