Happy St. Patrick's Day!
This is such a fun holiday to celebrate, if you are Irish or not. Who doesn't love green beer, good times with friends, 4 leaf clovers, corned beef & cabbage, and Irish soda bread! In the spirit of the holiday, I baked a lovely Irish soda bread. I love the dense, chewy center with sweet raisins and crispy outside. It is a
Growing up a family friend always made us a huge round loaf of Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's day. My mom, sister and I loved to have a slice of it toasted up with butter and a cup of tea. It was such a special treat to have after a day at school. Since I made this loaf, I have been enjoying that same tradition (after work) with my husband.
Ready for the oven! I don't have a cast iron pan, so I used a glass pie dish and I think it worked out just fine. You just need to improvise, sometimes it work, and sometimes it doesn't. That is the fun of experimenting in the kitchen.
Here is my bread dough, ready for the oven. Oh how beautiful!
Here is an interesting article about Irish soda bread on Today msnbc. I prefer my Irish soda bread without caraway seeds, but if you like them, add them in!
Preheat oven to 425o
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tbsp butter, cubed
1 cup raisins
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 cups of flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.
Next, work the cubed butter into the flour mixture with your hands, pastry cutter or two knives. Work the butter in until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add raisins.
Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add beaten egg and buttermilk. Incorporate well with a spoon or spatula until the dough becomes stiff. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl just long enough to form a ball. My dough was very sticky and I needed to add more flour at this point.
Move the dough to a floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Note that the dough will be a little sticky, and quite shaggy (a little like a shortcake biscuit dough). You want to work it just enough so that the flour is just moistened and the dough just barely comes together. Shaggy is good.
Place the dough into a greased, round pie dish, cast iron skillet or a baking sheet. Using a knife, score an "X" on the top of the dough about an inch deep.
Bake the bread for 35-45 minutes. Check the bread with a long skewer, if it comes out clean then your bread is done. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove the bread and place it on a cooling rack.
Serve warm and enjoy!
1) If you enjoy your Irish Soda bread with caraway seeds, feel free to add some to this recipe
2) If towards the end of the baking process the bread is getting too brown, cover it with tin foil to finish baking off.
3) 1 cup of buttermilk = 1 tablespoon of white vinegar + 1 cup of milk (this recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, so I estimated 1 3/4 tablespoons of vinegar and filled the rest of my measuring cup with milk to get to 1 3/4 cups)