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Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Orange

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If you don't have buttermilk, see the notes below on how to make a substitute. However I think real buttermilk makes the best bread, and there are a few other recipes on our site that could help you use the rest of your carton. See Rita's pancakes or corn muffins.
Course Bread
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Calories 192
Author Rosemary Mark


  • 4 cups white whole wheat flour* or blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup Sun-Maid Natural or Golden Raisins
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar optional
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds optional
  • Grated zest of one orange
  • 2 cups buttermilk*


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour and remaining dry ingredients and orange zest. Stir and make a well in the center.
  • Pour buttermilk into the well. Stir with a wooden spoon just until the wet and dry ingredients come together. The less mixing the better. The mixture will bubble.
  • Form the dough into a mound with floured hands. You can work in the bowl if you don't want to messy your counter.
  • Place on a baking sheet and flatten to about 2-1/2 inches in height. For shorter bake time, divide dough in half to make two smaller loaves. Slash a cross about ½-inch deep across the top.
  • Bake until deep golden brown and a pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes or about 25 minutes for two small loaves. Cover with foil the last 5-10 minutes if needed to prevent over browning or raisins from burning. 
  • Cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or room temperature. Wrap well and keep at room temperature 2-3 days, or longer refrigerated. Toast slices if refrigerated.


*Notes: In place of buttermilk, use regular milk and replace 2 tablespoons milk with 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice. Dough may be a little sticky and need 3-4 tablespoons more flour. Use all-purpose white flour if you like a less coarse bread, or a combination of white and whole wheat. I like white whole wheat flour which is milled from a hard white wheat berry and retains the bran and the germ, like whole wheat flour but less coarse. It isn’t completely white, and produces a slightly sweet flavor with 4 grams of fiber per ¼ cup just like whole wheat flour, vs less than 1 gram in white flour.