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16 March 2020

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Here's a recipe for Irish Soda Bread

Theresa Murphy shares this family tradition:

Irish soda bread and Mayo flag
Part of the fun in telling our family stories is sharing the recipes we cherish that bring us comfort and fond memories of our homes. My family and my husband’s both came from Ireland and at this time of year, I like to bake Irish soda bread as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Especially now, as many of us are staying in to stay healthy, I thought it would be fun to share this recipe–a way to connect and something to try now that we have more time on our hands.

Now, having traveled in Ireland, I can tell you that there are as many soda bread recipes as there are townlands. This recipe has its roots in County Cork. My mother-in-law was the family historian and genealogist, and she both visited Ireland and stayed in touch with friends and relatives in Inchigeelagh, her father’s home, and Coolclogher, her grandmother’s birthplace.

Here’s the recipe for Mary Kearney Murphy’s Irish Soda BreadSlainté (to your health)!

4 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 ½ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. shortening
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 ½ c. buttermilk
1 ½ cup raisins
2 Tbsp. caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine dry ingredients, except raisins and caraway seeds. Cut in shortening. Add buttermilk, raisins, and caraway seeds. Mix well and knead on a floured board until smooth. Shape dough into a ball. Place on a buttered cookie sheet and flatten into a 7-inch circle. Cut a cross in the top with a floured knife. Bake 30-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Optional: Melt 1 Tbsp. butter and brush on top of loaf as soon as you take it from the oven. (I do not do this.)

If you have a favorite family recipe and a memory to go with it, why not share it? Email blog editor Jennifer Dix:

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