Mrs. Frings' Irish Soda Bread.  Let's pretend the Pacific Ocean is the Irish Sea.

Mrs. Frings’ Irish Soda Bread. Let’s pretend the Pacific Ocean is the Irish Sea.

Know this. Sweet Paul, creative guru, lifestyle magazine editor and chef, is Norwegian. My people, on my Mother’s side, were Welch coalminers. Between us, we have not one drop of Irish blood. But last week Sweet Paul sent me a new recipe for Irish Soda Bread, something I make once a year. He’s in the game.

Sweet Paul

Sweet Paul

As for me, I’ve visited and driven across the Emerald Isle, coast to coast. One of my Life’s thrills was seeing the spectacular Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin. And I’ve read Thomas Cahill’s “How the Irish Saved Civilization” from cover to cover. I’m in the game also.


For this one day, March 17, everyone is Irish and that’s cause for blarney, hoopla, and Mrs. Frings’ Irish Soda Bread. A peasant bread, simply made with basic ingredients: flour, baking soda (used as a leavening agent instead of yeast), salt and soured milk to moisten and activate the soda, it represents Ireland’s soul. Bake it for dinner. Serve it warm. Wrap the remaining leftovers tightly and toast the next morning. Sublime.



Restraint is a wonderful thing. We left very little for toast tomorrow.

Restraint is a wonderful thing. We left very little for toast tomorrow.

Mrs. Frings’ Irish Soda Bread by Paul Vitale (adapted by Mary Hirsch)


3 cups Flour

1 stick (1/2 cup) of cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch dice

1/2 cup Sugar

1 to 1 and 1/2 Cups of Golden Raisins (your discretion)

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cup Buttermilk, shaken


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Mix butter into dry mixture by hand until clumps disappear.

4. Slowly add in buttermilk until you can form one big clump of dough.

5. Toss the raisins into the clump of dough and knead into the dough.

6. Place in 8 or 9 inch round or springform pan that is been coated with butter and flour OR form into freestanding round loaf which you put on parchment paper to bake.

7. Cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife.

8. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it should have a hollow sound.

9. Remove from oven and place on rack and drape with damp cloth until cool. Slice and enjoy with Irish butter!