It’s a little early for St. Patrick’s Day, but I never made this last year and wanted to get a head start. Plus, I had never taken a picture of it for the blog. This is my family’s recipe, but there are many versions of Irish bread out there!
A few words of (Irish bread) wisdom. First, you don’t need to buy buttermilk. Place 1 1/2 T of white vinegar in a large measuring cup, and fill with milk to make 1 1/2 c total. Allow milk to sit for 5 minutes, and you now have 1 1/2 c. of buttermilk. Easy, right? Second, don’t overmix the dough. Really, you just want to make sure it’s blended together, you don’t want to stretch it out too much. You also don’t want to be tempted to add too much additional flour; the dough is meant to be sticky, not smooth. And finally, if the top gets too brown but the bread isn’t done, cover it with foil and keep baking. You don’t want to dry it out, but you do need to make sure the inside is cooked.
Now I think I am inspired to make another loaf or two before the holiday!
Irish Soda Bread
4 c. flour
3 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
6 T butter
1 1/2 c. raisins
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 2 quart round casserole dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients (flour through baking soda). With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins.
In a small bowl, beat eggs slightly. Remove 1 T egg and reserve. Stir buttermilk into remaining egg and then stir into flour mixture just until flour is moistened. The dough will be sticky.
Turn dough onto a floured surface, and with floured hands, knead about 10 strokes to mix thoroughly. Shape into a ball, and place in casserole dish. With a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top and brush dough with reserved egg.
Bake about 60-100 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.