Irish Soda Bread – an Owens Family Tradition

My father immigrated to the U.S. from Belfast, Ireland as a young boy along with his mother, brother and two of his three sisters. Grandad was already here establishing I life for his family eventually in Torrence, California. This recipe journeyed with the family and I continue to cook it today.


  • 6 cups of all-purpose flour OR 4-cups of wheat flour
    • NOTE: do not use self-rising flour as it contains baking powder.
    • Optional: replace 2 cups of all purpose flour with wheat
  • 4 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 1 QT buttermilk
  • Optional: 2 cups of raisins (or less)


Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl, creating a well in the mixture for the buttermilk.

Add buttermilk slowly into the well and hand mix. Don’t use a blender as it tends to over-knead the bread causing it to rise excessively.

Divide into two floured 9″ round or square pans – OR invert onto a floured baking sheet as seen here – and allow to rise for 45 minutes at room temperature.

Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes. Test via a dry toothpick.

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