Appalachia Appalachian Food

Irish Soda Bread for Saint Patrick’s Day

Irish Soda Bread with knife

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Do you have your green on? If not you know you’re going to get pinched 🙂 That old tradition was really celebrated during my elementary years. Most of the pinches were done very gently, but sometimes the ones on the bus ride home got pretty hard core 🙂

I’ve been seeing recipes for Irish Soda Bread popping up everywhere during the last week or so. A few years ago Blind Pig Reader Ann Applegarth shared her great Irish Soda Bread recipe. You can see it here.

I was flipping through one of my cookbooks, “Cooking and Living Along the River” by Duane Oliver and noticed he had two recipes for Irish Soda Bread. They are basically the same, except one uses all-purpose flour and the other whole wheat.

I’ve made two loafs of the all purpose version this week and it’s really good. If you’ve never had Irish Soda Bread its very similar to biscuit bread. Although the way it’s made gives it a much crustier outside and a denser inside.

Here’s the recipe I used from Duane:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon butter
1 slightly beaten egg white
3/4 cup buttermilk

Stir or sift together first 4 ingredients. Cut in butter till crumbly. Make well in center and add buttermilk mixed with egg white. Stir till moistened. Turn out onto floured area and knead ten strokes till nearly smooth. Shape into seven inch round loaf. Place dough on greased baking sheet. Make two slashes through top of dough to form a cross. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or till done. Can also be made with whole wheat flour.

The bread is so good with a slather of butter.

In last night’s video I made the bread and shared some of the writings from Duane’s cookbook. You can see the video here.


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    March 18, 2022 at 3:06 pm

    Unfortunately we didn’t wear green we forgot. Hadn’t heard of the bread. It looks delicious. Thanks for sharing. Will have to try it.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 17, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    My DNA results show that I am 49% Scottish, 47% English and Northwestern European, 4% Welch and 1% Norwegian. Not a drop of Irish blood flow through there veins. Am I allowed to wear green? Should I walk around with my eyes closed? My eyes are green!

    Franklin Duane Oliver, born 1932 in Swain County-died 2017 in Hazelwood, Haywood County, was a nephew of the wife of my 2nd cousin 1x removed!

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    March 17, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! I have to admit I forgot until you mentioned it! Here I sit in blue. Lol My maiden name is Sullivan so I really should do better.
    The bread looks wonderful! I have never tried it but I would like too.

    • Reply
      David Boyd
      March 17, 2022 at 3:16 pm

      If you really want to celebrate s t Padrig( Patrick you need to have his color(blue)on because in the whole Celtic Irish culture Blue is the color for the clergy St Patrick was a Christian priest. The current partying holiday an wearing of green is an Irish-American holiday that was invented by the Irish- Americans in New York City as a remembrance of their homeland. Although the holiday is now celebrated in Ireland it was not until recently and was probably after Eamon DeValera an Irish -American brought the celebration from his native New York City,NY.

  • Reply
    March 17, 2022 at 10:47 am

    A handful of dried currants is a grand addition…
    Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    March 17, 2022 at 10:26 am

    I’ve never had Irish Soda Bread, but it looks tasty!

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    The rains fall soft upon your fields,
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
    *** Irish Blessing

    Happy St Patrick’s Day to you all!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2022 at 10:22 am

    Your Irish Soda Bread, my Grandmother would have pronounced it Sodie bread, looked really good. Who doesn’t love hot bread slathered with butter and honey and my Parents always called it a case knife. When your young and doing a lot of physical work you can eat and enjoy that bread, but as I aged my metabolism doesn’t handle bread that well. If I do eat bread, I try to use wheat bread.
    My Husband and I have been through that Park many times and I remember reading about the different home sites and the Oliver family. We would stop at each place and walk a path to the old house and I have pictures of the little churches. I thought that would have been very hard to be uprooted from your home. We boarded the train in Murphy and it took us on a scenic trip but I still thought about the families that were moved out to make way for the lake and dam. We enjoyed it so much that we went back for our 50th Anniversary and that time we finally saw two black bears.

  • Reply
    Margie G (no green or pinching)
    March 17, 2022 at 9:36 am

    Happy St. Patty’s, all! No green today and certainly no pinching me lest one wants to get hurt severely! I hated pinching in school and this homie does not play like that- period! Why pinch somebody over wearing a certain color anyway? Like I say, it’s a darn good way to meet COMA or INSTANT DEATH ( my fists names.) I’m not violent but pinching would result in a bad outcome for the pincher. The bread recipe looks and sounds good so thanks for the share. Let’s dispense of pinching and wearing green and try to enjoy the day. Period.

  • Reply
    Chris Vick
    March 17, 2022 at 9:18 am

    Thank you for sharing your recipe. Our neighbors, the Bishops, would invite us to their St. Patrick’s day dinner which consisted of corned beef, cabbage and ‘spotted dog’ which was soda bread with a cup of raisins added in. Yum! Thanks for bringing back the memory.

  • Reply
    Patty Hansen
    March 17, 2022 at 9:12 am

    Happy St. Patty’s Day, Everyone!!! Got my soda bread, got my Corned Beef cooking on the stovetop – no cabbage. No-one here likes the cabbage part, but we put carrots & taters in the pot. Does anyone eat horseradish with their corned beef? Always wondered if that was a regional thing or just my family did that. Talking about homemade…Has anyone ever corned their own meat? I have done corned venison & it is the best thing going. Tastes even better than the store beef. I happened (miraculously) to find corned beef on sale this year, so didn’t do the venison (due to time constraints). It is very easy and Carolyn on “HomesteadingFamily” on youtube has a very simple recipe to make this with beef or venison. & speaking of bread —whole cultures subsisted on bread for eons, with no trouble. Think Egyptians; they were eating a predominantly barley bread, gruel diet and drinking barley malt all day long. My inlaws planted wheat on our farm last year & I bought a grain mill. I have never had such tasty homemade bread. It is on an entirely different plane than even just homemade bread with store bought white flour. I have an aunt with celiacs disease & she can eat this bread with no problem. I think it is the stuff they treat the wheat with (pesticides & such) that cause such a problem. Plus, think of your ancestors … much more physically active people. they NEEDED those carbs, right? May the Luck o’ the Irish be with you al today!

  • Reply
    wanda benzing
    March 17, 2022 at 8:55 am

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Tonight I am making Shepherd’s Pie and Irish Soda Bread. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 17, 2022 at 8:48 am

    I have green on – green corduroy. And a blessed Saint Paddy’s Day to ye one and all.

    Don’t think I’ve ever had Irish soda bread. About bread though, I wonder how many traditional breads got changed with the coming of bleached, enriched and finely ground flour. Stands to reason they originally used a coarser, unbleached. I recently saw that a Mennonite store sells crushed wheat at three different grades of coarseness. Said to be superior to the ‘milled’. Come to think of it, stone ground is actually crushed in comparison with commercial flour. Our daughter the bread person would probably like to try it.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 17, 2022 at 8:43 am

    Happy St Patricks Day, oh Tipper I remember the abuse when I forgot to wear green. I wore it too although I am mostly Scots there is a tiny bit of Irish and this is the day I celebrate it!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2022 at 8:35 am

    HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY, from the descendant of Patrick & Honora Ryan who came to America in the mid 1700’s.

    Nice that you shared soda bread recipe but I prefer a Reuben sandwich.

  • Reply
    March 17, 2022 at 7:31 am

    Happy St Patrick’s Day to everyone. I don’t make bread but after watching your video last night I thought I would try this recipe since it’s so easy and because you said it’s like a big biscuit and the crustier outside is a plus. I also like the idea of making the cross in the bread – a reminder of Easter and what it is really about – the bread of life.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    March 17, 2022 at 6:59 am

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!! Thank you for this recipe. Watching your video last night, I could smell it baking. Then when you took it out of the oven, I could taste the melted butter on the hot bread! Like Miss Cindy said, our ancestors ate a lot of bread. I think part of the reason it is not eaten so much today, is all the bad rap that carbs get. Plus, most of the women who baked the bread years ago are working full time jobs now. Homemade bread beats store bought bread hands down!

    Donna. : )

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 17, 2022 at 6:30 am

    It certainly sounds like something I’d like! It’s funny that bread was a staple in the diets of our ancestors and now I rarely eat any bread and I haven’t made bread in a very long time. It’s not that I don’t like bread, I love hot bread out of the oven with lots of butter slathered on it, and I loved making it. Living alone I just don’t make bread anymore.

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    March 17, 2022 at 6:15 am

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! I plan on eating a bit of Irish soda bread later today. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  • Leave a Reply