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Posted on Mar 10, 2016 |

Rita’s Recipe: Irish Soda Bread

Rita’s Recipe: Irish Soda Bread

According to legend, St. Patrick explained the Trinity with a three-leafed clover. Enjoy Irish  soda bread on his feast day -- or any time!

According to legend, St. Patrick explained the Trinity with a three-leafed clover. Enjoy Irish soda bread on his feast day — or any time!

Don’t you love all the legends and lore surrounding St. Patrick?  I especially love his analogy about the 3-leafed clover and the Trinity:

Patrick demonstrated the meaning of the Three-in-One by picking a shamrock from the grass growing at his feet and showing it to his listeners. He told them that just as the shamrock is one leaf with three parts, God is one entity with three Persons.

And if you’re going to make this bread, make sure you bless the dough  – the cross shape is sometimes cut on top with a knife to ward off the devil and protect the household!

Anna’s Soda Bread


Anna Mitchell, cohost of the Son Rise Morning Show on Sacred Heart Radio, shared this family recipe. I can’t wait to make this!  She told me:  “This isn’t a recipe that my mom made up herself, this is what we Brookbank gals use to make soda bread.”


  • 4 cups unsifted all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter (I usually use less because I can’t handle the calories!!)
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup buttermilk


Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar.  Cut in the butter until crumbly. Add the raisins.


Beat the egg slightly and combine with the buttermilk, then add to the dry ingredients and stir until it’s all blended together.


Knead on a floured board until smooth. You’ll probably have to add extra flour to the dough as you go along, and don’t get concerned if you end up adding a lot – just make sure it’s not sticky when you’re done.


Divide the dough at least in half for two loaves.  I like to make multiple small loaves that I bake in small oven-safe bowls and big coffee mugs – you could even do muffins tins!  Anyway, shape them into round loaves, and put them in whatever pan is appropriate for the size you’ve made.  I usually spray the pans/bowls/cups/etc with some cooking spray beforehand.  Take a sharp knife and cut a big cross in the top.


Bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes.  I always do the knife check to make sure they have cooked all the way through.


Tip from Rita’s Kitchen: Some people like savory soda bread, in which you omit the sugar and raisins and add instead a 1/8 tsp of coriander. 

Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Heikenfeld.

Rita Nader Heikenfeld writes a weekly syndicated column and blog for the Community Press, appears every Thursday on the Son Rise Morning Show, and is the author of several cookbooks. An adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, she is Certified Culinary Professional and Certified Modern Herbalist,  the Culinary Professional for Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, and a media personality with a cable show and YouTube videos. In 2014 she was inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame. She lives “in the sticks” outside Batavia, Ohio with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs. You’ll find all her previous recipes featured on The Catholic Beat here.

Rita’s Bible Foods segment airs on the Son Rise Morning Show every Thursday morning at 7:22 am (rebroadcast Friday at 6:02 am). Tune in to hear her discuss the history behind each recipe and the scripture verses that inspired it. And of course, for cooking tips!

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