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Happy Belated St. Paddy's Day!

OK, first I was a day early (I really thought that Tuesday was Wednesday), and now I'm a day late (posting an Irish recipe). I never did claim to be organized.

I've made quite a few recipes for Irish Soda Bread. But I like this one the best. It's by Rose Levy Berenbaum, published in her book, The Bread Bible. The book includes a recipe for Whiskey Butter, which I've never made (but I included it below). You can sub water for the whiskey in the recipe, but I don't recommend it.

Royal Irish Soda Bread
Source: The Bread Bible


  • 1 scant cup raisins
  • ½ cup Irish whiskey
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk


  1. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and whiskey. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit, stirring once, until the raisins are softened, at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
  2. If making the Whiskey Butter, drain and reserve the whiskey to use in the recipe. You should have about 3 tablespoons.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Cut the butter into 8 slices so it begins to soften and will be easier to mix into the flour.
  5. Place flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a food processor. Pulse 3 times to aerate. Add the butter, and pulse 3 more times to combine. Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Add in the drained raisins and buttermilk and pulse again, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together.
  6. Empty the dough onto the counter and knead it lightly about eight times, until smooth but still a little sticky. If it sticks to the counter, use a bench scraper to gather it together; try to avoid adding extra flour. Flour your hands lightly if absolutely necessary.
  7. Shape the dough into a 6-inch disc. It will be about 1 ¾ inches high. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, make a ½-inch-deep slash from one side of the dough to the other, then make a second slash across it to form a cross.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes on a rack before serving.

Whiskey Butter

  • 3 tablespoons of reserved whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Microwave reserved whiskey with sugar for about 20 seconds. Stir to dissolve sugar and let cool completely.
  2. In a small bowl, gradually stir the whiskey mixture into softened, unsalted butter until mixed thoroughly. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

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