Corned beef and cabbage isn't the only traditional holiday favorite on St. Patrick's Day.

While St. Patrick himself never had the pleasure of tasting such a sweet delight (soda bread didn't exist in Ireland until the 1840s when bicarbonate soda was introduced) it's now often served with meals.

Many argue that "real" soda bread consists of only flour, buttermilk or sour milk, salt and baking soda. Once you add raisins, it becomes "The Spotted Dog." Likewise, the caraway seeds, whiskey and furit turn the bread into "cake", and are found in America, not Ireland. Still, here are a few recipes, whichever way you prefer!

Sweet Irish Soda Bread
Courtesy of the Food Network
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup currants
2 tablespoons toasted caraway seeds
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon sanding sugar

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix it well. Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces. Add the flour. Now, using your fingers, work the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it looks like crumbs. Add the buttermilk, currants and caraway seeds and mix them into the flour mixture as well. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead until the dough forms a ball. Grease a loaf pan and place the dough in the pan, then making sure to score the top of the loaf with a knife. Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter (yum!). Sprinkle some sanding sugar and place the loaf in the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until you see it turn a golden brown.

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins
Courtesy of
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup raisins
2 eggs
1 tablespoon caraway seed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Beat eggs with buttermilk then add the eggs and buttermilk into the flour mixture. For extra sweetness, stir in raisins. Pour dough onto lightly floured board. Shape into a round loaf, adding flour if necessary. Place in a lightly greased spring form pan. Sprinkle top with caraway seeds if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Traditional White Irish Soda Bread
Courtesy of
4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees. Lightly crease and flour a cake pan. In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and a sticky dough will form. Place the dough on floured surface and lightly knead but make sure you don't knead too much as it allows the gas to escape. Shape dough into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough. Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. To check if it's done, tap the bottom of the bread. If it has a hollow sound, then it's finished. Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

Photo Copyright iStockPhoto