Irish Soda Bread

Recipe courtesy of The Bread Book by  Betsy Oppenneer- published by Harper Collins

 

The quintessential bread to serve on St. Patrick’s Day, this humble loaf tastes even better toasted, and served for breakfast with butter and jam. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, for a nutty flavor replace up to half the flour with whole wheat flour ( I use white whole wheat flour for half of the flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon caraway seeds

2 Tablespoons sugar

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled

1/2 cup currants or raisins

1 cup buttermilk

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

 

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 cups flour, the baking soda, salt, caraway seeds, and sugar until well combined.

 

3. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms rice-size pieces.  Add the raisins and toss until combined.  Add the buttermilk all at once and stir just until combined.

 

4. Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead gently 8 or 9 times.  Roll the dough into a ball and coat heavily with flour ( I prefer it lightly coated).  Put the dough on a parchment-lined or well-greased baking sheet and flatten the ball slightly so that the loaf is about 3 inches high.  Using a sharp, well-floured knife, cut a cross on the top of the loaf about 1/2 inch deep (as you can see from the photos, I cut my x a bit deep, it made the bread really spread out in that area).

 

5. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown (the internal temperature should reach 190°F).  Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a rack.  Traditionally soda breads are broken rather than sliced.  However, I prefer to slice the loaf so that it fits in the toaster better the next day.

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