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Maud Herlihy's Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread is a St. Patrick's Day classic. Bill Herlihy, the executive in charge of "The Martha Stewart Show," shares a recipe from his mother, Maud.

  • Yield: Makes 1 loaf

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, March 2010


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and frozen, plus more, softened, for skillet
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Caraway seeds (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees with a rack set in lower third of oven. Lightly butter a 10-inch round cast-iron skillet; set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add butter, sour cream and egg; mix, using a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins, buttermilk, and caraway seeds, if using, and mix until a sticky dough forms.

  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a floured bench scraper, form into a round loaf; using a sharp knife score a large "X" in the center.

  4. Place in prepared skillet and transfer to oven. Bake until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. If top begins to brown too quickly, loosely cover with a piece of parchment paper-lined aluminum foil. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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