Irish Soda Bread

An aquaintance who is a native of Ireland found the bread baked from this recipe reminiscent of the bread she had grown up with as a child. She doesn't remember caraway seeds as an ingredient in Irish Bread. No doubt there are many varieties to be had. Feel free to add a couple tablespoons of caraway seeds if that is your preference.


8 fluid oz. Unsalted ButterOne stick
4 cups Flour, All Purpose, Unbleached
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
¾ cup White Sugar
cups MilkI use whole milk mostly, but low fat or even skim will work as well.
1 cup Raisins, BlackA mixture of dark and golden works too, or currants if you prefer.
1 tbsp White SugarOptional for sprinkling on top before baking
2 tbsp Lemon JuiceAbout the amount squeezed from half of a medium sized lemon


1 Measure the milk into a glass measuring cup. Add the lemon juice and let this mixture sit while preparing the remaining ingredients. Alternately, you can use sour milk, but preparing the sour milk this way adds a very subtle lemon flavor.
2 Grease and flour a nine inch loaf pan and a smaller six inch loaf pan. Alternately use two smaller loaf pans measuring eight inches or so. You could also use the nine inch loaf pan and make a few muffins with the batter remaining after filling the nine inch pan.
3 Preheat the oven to three hundred fifty degrees.
4 In a fairly large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, including the three quarters cup of sugar.
5 Cut in the butter, either with a utensil or with your fingers, until the butter is fully incorporated and evenly distributed.
6 Add the raisins and mix in thoroughly. If using the optional caraway seeds, they should also be added at this point, about two tablespoons.
7 Add soured milk mixture (which will have curdled some) and mix into dry ingredients gently, but thoroughly.
8 Spoon batter into the pans and fill them to about three quarters full.
9 Sprinkle with the sugar if you choose that option.
10 Bake the nine inch loaf for 45-48 minutes; the loaves in the smaller pans for 35 minutes; the muffins for 15 minutes. The top should look light golden colored with some deeper golden touches visible as well. A very slight gap may be apparent between the loaves and the pan edges.