Wednesday, March 13, 2013

St. Patrick's Day - Irish Soda Bread

In case you're wondering, St. Patrick's Day is Sunday March 17th this year. I thought about what to post this year to help "get my Irish on." Like the American corned beef & cabbage, soda bread's origin is debatable. The raisins could be eliminated for a more authentic soda bread.

I had a conversation with Lin, a good friend of ours about Irish soda bread. She told me that the recipe that she has used for over 20 years is the best. I asked for it and she delivered. The recipe was simple enough, even for a non-baker like myself. But how would it taste? I wondered. 
5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
4 Tbsp. butter-softened
1/2 tsp. salt
Tbsp. baking powder
2-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1-1/2 cups raisins

1 cup golden raisins
NOTE: The original recipe called for 2-1/2 cups raisins. That was a lot of raisins for my taste. I substituted half of the regular raisins with golden raisins. 
Cold butter
Dry ingredients and cubed butter
Add buttermilk and beaten egg

Mixed dry and wet ingredients
Add raisins
Add golden raisins
Divide dough in half 
DIRECTIONS: Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, butter, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Mix ingredients together by hand. Add the buttermilk, egg and raisins. Mix again a few times. Divide the dough in 1/2 to make 2 loaves. Shape each into a ball and place on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle tops of breads with flour.
Make cross and dust with flour
Bake in pre-heated, 350°F oven for 45 to 60 minutes. This recipe makes 2 loaves.

NOTE: The dough was too sticky to knead so we just divided it in half, made crosses on top of each mound and lightly dusted with flour. If the bread or raisins begin to brown too much, lightly cover the bread with a sheet of aluminum foil and continue baking. You can test for the bread by using a toothpick or tap lightly on the top and it will sound slightly hollow. I would cut the raisins in half next time (1-1/2 cups).
Would you like a slice?
If you missed last year's post about corned beef and cabbage go to
© TMelle 2013