Kitchen Literacy: Luck of the Irish

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  For years, I would bake Irish soda bread and read leprechaun stories with my young students.  There is nothing like the smell of fresh-baked bread while listening to fanciful tales.  We also used to make our own butter to go with the bread.  I would put a little heavy cream in empty baby food jars.  Each of my students  had a jar to shake, shake, shake.  The magic butter was their own to use and then bring home with a few extra slices of bread to share with their families.

Since COVID, we can’t bake at school anymore.  I miss baking with children the most.  I cannot wait till it is a legally sanctioned activity again.  I hadn’t tried Irish soda bread at home because I have Celiac Disease and need to eat gluten-free.  I thought there was no use in trying to make bread myself.  I thought it would turn out terribly.  I was wrong!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  Enjoy some soda bread and snuggle down with a good leprechaun legend.

Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread

  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
    • 1 large egg
    • 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
    • 3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 1/3 cup golden raisins
    • 1/3 cup currants
    • 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ¾ teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Whisk buttermilk, egg and 3 tablespoons melted butter in a medium bowl.
  3. Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, caraway seeds, currants, raisins, and salt in a large bowl. Mix on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and slowly add the buttermilk mixture until a soft dough forms. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over the base and sides of an 8-inch cast iron skillet.
  5. Dust hands with flour and form the dough into a ball. Press the dough into the prepared pan.
  6. Use a sharp knife to score a deep “X” in the top of the dough.
  7. Bake until lightly browned and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom, 30 to 40 minutes.
  8. Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes.

Books to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

  1. Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie DePaola
  2. Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman
  3. Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie DePaola
  4. Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott
  5. A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski
  6. How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace
  7. That’s What Leprechauns Do by Emily Arnold McCully
  8. O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott
  9. Finn McCool and the Great Fish by Even Bunting

Thank you to TWT:Slice of Life and SOS: Sharing our Stories
for providing inspiration and community.

11 thoughts on “Kitchen Literacy: Luck of the Irish

  1. Your bread looks delicious. I’m sorry you can’t bake with students. I’m pretty sure that COVID is not spread through food. Can you bring it in, even if the kids can’t actually make it? In my classes, we’ve been drawing a leprechaun from a YouTube video and writing a story. It’s not as tasty, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That soda bread looks fantastic, Joanne, and I hope the baking with kids days will return. It’s something that so many of them love to do. My granddaughter is one of these – i have two new aprons here for her when we have the next sleepover (gotta protect our flowered pjs, lol!).


  3. Who could have imagined that it is possible to have times where you wish baking with kids to be “a legally sanctioned activity”? Strange times. I hope they pass and kids can get flour all over them again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yum! Bread just for you is just right. Our exchange student has celiac’s disease, so we’ve been learning to bake in gluten-free ways. Now I’ll think about you each time I adjust our meals for gluten-free options.


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