Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

My Favorite Irish Soda Bread

From Gourmet Magazine, the March 1994 edition, Jeanne Lemlin writes: “The following bread, found throughout Ireland, is chock-full of raisins and caraway seeds.” (p. 175)  It has become a tradition in my house on St.Patrick’s Day and is easy and delicious enough to enjoy all year round!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk (or nonfat yogurt, if desired)
  • milk for brushing top of bread before baking

Procedure

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a 1 1/2 quart round baking dish (about 8 inches in diameter)
  • In a large bowl whisk together flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add butter and toss to coat with flour. With fingertips rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. (You can also use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in butter.)
  • Add raisins and caraway seeds and toss until coated.
  • Add buttermilk or plain nonfat yogurt and stir until dough is moistened evenly. Do not overwork dough.
  • On a floured surface knead dough 1 minute, sprinkling lightly with addition flour to prevent sticking. (Work it until the dough does not stick to your hands, may be a but tacky, but mostly dry.) Shape dough into a ball and put in baking dish.
  • With a sharp knife cut a shallow X (or cross) in top of loaf and brush loaf with milk.
  • Bake bread in middle of oven 55 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown. (Cake tester will be dry and thumping the top with a finger flick will sound hollow rather than dense.)
  • Turn bread out onto a rack and cool completely before slicing.

NOTE:
I use 3 cups of all purpose if I don’t have whole wheat flour (which is most of the time!)
You can use dried currants instead of raisins if your store carries them.
Servings: 16
Yield: 1 eight inch round

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