Irish Soda Bread

After promising my Father for many, many weeks to make him Irish Soda Bread, the event finally came to pass on his birthday this past Friday. I was lucky enough to be home at the time to help out and make a flour covered mess of myself.

My mother’s baking skills (I should say her kitchen skills in general) are ridiculously awesome despite no formal training, merely practice from cooking for her family. The bread came out perfectly golden and delicious! Neither vegan/raw, I limited myself to a little taste with some Earth Balance butter. Yum!

The following is the basic recipe we followed. Instead of raisins, we used a mixture of currants, golden raisins, cherries and cranberries, allowing them to soak in hot water for about 15 minutes and drain completely before adding to the dough mixture. When adding the buttermilk and egg mixture, make a bowl in the center of the dry ingredients and pour part of the liquid in, folding the dry ingredients to the center. Continue this until all the liquid is incorporated. Do not over mix. Afterwards my mother commented on next time using 1 cup of sugar versus 3/4. I thought it sweet enough, but feel free to add the extra if you wish. Happy baking!!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups sifted all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
  • 2 1/2 cups mixed light and dark raisins, soaked in water for 15 to 20 minutes and drained
  • 3 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter 2 (9 by 5-inch) bread pans.

Stir together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in the butter and mix very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.

Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture. Stir until well moistened. Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in the pans.

Bake for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool

Recipe courtesy Brother Rick Curry, The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking, HaperPerennial, 1995. 

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