Irish Soda Bread

Makes four 7" round loaves


  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour + extra for work surface
  • 3½ cups pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2½ tbsp cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 stick (4 oz) margarine
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups raisins, soaked in warm water for 20-60 minutes, then drained
  • 3 cups low fat buttermilk + more if needed
  • extra flour for dusting
  • ½ cup caraway seeds (optional)

Special Equipment

  • large mixing bowl
  • sifter or mesh strainer
  • pastry blender (bench scraper)
  • foil
  • four 7" round foil baking pans


  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Sift flours, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Add sugar and cream of tartar and mix to integrate ingredients
  3. Cut in margarine and shortening with your hands (or use a fork or pastry blender), until the fat is in pea-sized pieces
  4. Pour in buttermilk (add more if dough is dry) and mix until it just comes together. The dough should be wet, but not gooey
  5. Add raisins (and caraway seeds, if using) and mix gently
  6. Remove dough to a floured board, and roll into one large log. Cut with a knife or bench scraper into 4 equal portions
  7. Roll each portion into a ball, and place into flour-dusted, 7” foil disposable rounds
  8. Slice a deep "X"” into the tops of each loaf with a knife or bench scraper, then dust the top of each loaf lightly with flour
  9. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until the bread has formed a golden crust and sounds hollow when tapped
  10. Serve sliced with butter or preserves

Note: If you don’t have a need for the 4 loaves this recipe yields, the dough bakes perfectly when placed directly from the freezer to the oven. Form dough ball and cut the “X” on top, place in foil baking round, then wrap tightly with plastic or foil and place in freezer bag. Store for up to 1 month. When ready to bake, remove from freezer and place in preheated oven. Add 20 minutes to the original baking time (bake for about 70 minutes)