Grandma’s Irish soda bread

My Irish grandmother, Annie Allen, arrived at Ellis Island in 1909, a twenty-one-year-old with two little boys, four and two, in tow. I can’t imagine. She joined her husband, who’d come ahead two years earlier and had never met his son Sam. Grandma set up house, had two more kids, and lived a long life in her own home, cooking, baking, and tending her garden until she passed in her late 80’s. As a young lad, I enjoyed her “Irish Cake” sitting with her for tea, a ritual she held to every afternoon around four whether I was there or not. Grandma’s Irish Cake is a variety of Irish soda bread, loved by many. We never captured her exact recipe, which I can be sure, came straight from County Down, where Grandma probably learned it from her mother, Mary Anne McKee.

We hope it’s as good as Grandma used to make.
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Irish Soda Bread

A quick Irish soda bread with raisins or currants
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Snacks
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: quick bread, soda bread
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 328kcal
Author: dad


  • loaf pan


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 361 grams on your digital scale. You have one, right?
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg large and fresh
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk


  • Pre-heat oven to 350°
  • Whisk together dry ingredients (flours, salt, soda, sugar). Mix in raisons.
  • Mix together wet ingredients (butter, egg, buttermilk).
  • Blend wet into dry until moistened throughout, but don't mix beyond this.
  • Place dough in buttered loaf pan. Smooth out a bit with the back of a spoon.
  • Cut a line down the length of the loaf with a sharp knife. (Lets the fairies out.)
  • Bake 30 minutes; then lower temp to 325° and bake 15 minutes more. Internal temp should be 200-210° measured with an instant-read thermometer, or until a probe comes out with no dough sticking to it. Don't overbake.
  • Let the loaf sit for 10 minutes, then remove the bread to a wire rack for an hour to let cool completely.
  • Cut a slice and enjoy with butter.


Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 343IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg

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