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!
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
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.