Great-Grandmother’s Homemade Irish Soda Bread

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I am thinking about time travel today and not because I have been watching Cosmos.  I am thinking about time travel because I want to go back to a specific place in time.  I want to go back to Elko, Nevada, March 1960.  My mom would be nine years old.  She would most likely be in the sweetest dress you have ever seen with her hair bouncing in its natural curls.  My full-blooded Irish great-grandmother Hortense would be in the kitchen.  In the kitchen she would be busy but not too busy to be singing.  She would be signing the songs of her homeland while her hands moved quickly.   Not too quickly of course to lift a spoon to my mom’s lips and offer her a taste of the meal to come. 

She would smile and sing and make the foods from her country while my mother watched, helped and learned from the master.  This is the moment I want to go back to.  It doesn’t need to be for long, I would settle for a minute or two. unnamed 8

So it is with the joyful singing spirit of my great-grandmother and our beautiful Irish ancestry that I humbly offer you a simple recipe to warm your heart, table and tummy on this St. Patrick’s Day.  Here is to making memories that will last for generations.


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Irish Soda Bread


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour and extra for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter - cold
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly butter a cast iron skillet.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or a large fork until you have pieces the size of peas.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients
  5. Beat the egg and add it and the buttermilk to the well
  6. With a wooden spoon start to incorporate adding more flour or buttermilk if needed
  7. Coat hands with flour and gently continue to mix kneading only until ingredients are just combined forming a ball
  8. Remember this is Soda Bread so it will be a bit sticky and lumpy not smooth like a Yeast Bread, don’t over knead, just let it be who it is
  9. Transfer dough buttered skillet
  10. Score an “X” in the center of the dough
  11. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
  12. If you are using a cast iron skillet, the cooking time might increase as it takes a little longer to heat, but it will retain the loaf shape much better.


Serve warm with butter and in the heart of the old Irish blessings


May your day be touched by a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart, & warmed by the smiles of the people you love.


Marcella Rose



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Marcella Rose began cooking early, learning from her self-taught mom who prepared brilliant meals nightly. At thirteen, cooking on a Ranch, she learned how to get creative in the kitchen. With an eye for the beautiful, a growing palate, and keen organizing skills she soon began hosting parties and catering events. Moving to New York she was graced to have worked with some of the best interior designers in the city. Taking these skills to the Internet with Marcella Rose’s she shares her passion and innovation hoping to inspire the modern woman.

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  1. Teri Giese says

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!I have a recipe quite similar to your great grandmothers’;but we moved 3 years ago,and I am unable to find it!Had it for YEARS!Was a clipping from a magazine,and was also a “Irish grandma”recipe.Had no raisins,was sweet,and had a dusting of flour on.This is so close,am so grateful.I make the soda bread only for me,as no one else enjoys it!?Best warm out of the oven!Can not wait!!!☺️❤️

  2. What a lovely post!

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