Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Rose Begley’s Old-Fashioned Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Published March 13, 2008

This year The Georgia Bulletin wanted to share the warmth and goodness of this wonderful tradition with its readers.

Rose Begley, who with her husband, Tom, leads a group planning the annual Mass, provides these recipes from a lifetime of bread baking that began when she was 7 years old. As the oldest girl in a family of 14, her mother began teaching her then how to bake bread, which was a part of everyday life on their farm in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, Ireland.

“We would bake two or three loaves of bread every day. We didn’t buy bread,” Rose recalls.

Her scones and breads are a treasured part of the heritage she received from her parents and her native land, which she shares generously with all who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Old-Fashioned Irish Soda Bread


4 cups flour
1½ teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of baking soda
½ cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
6 tablespoons of shortening
2 cups of buttermilk (or half buttermilk and half sour cream)
1 egg
1 cup of raisins
2 tablespoons of caraway seeds (optional)

Mix all in the order given.

Bake in a buttered cast iron frying pan in a moderate oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Cool on the counter for about 20-30 minutes.

To serve later, wrap bread in a moistened towel and refrigerate.

To serve, cut in pieces as if cutting a pie.

(Bread can also be made ahead and frozen. When still warm, wrap the bread in waxed paper and then aluminum foil and freeze. Defrost at room temperature.)

Irish Scones

Follow the recipe above, but increase the amount of flour by ½ cup and add more raisins.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Knead the dough until the consistency is like that for biscuits.

Drop the dough in about tablespoon-size dollops about 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.

Cook for about 20 minutes.

Serve warm with butter and jam or creamed cheese and enjoy.