This post was originally posted on John's previous blog site on on March 17th, 2017.
And a happy St. Patrick’s Day to you from this Irishman. Today I wanted to talk about one of my very favorite things to make and eat. Irish Soda Bread.
Irish Soda Bread is traditional holiday bread for St. Patrick’s Day and most popular here in the States with Irish-Americans. It derives from holiday bread made in Ireland and is not to be confused with Irish Soda Bread, or the mostly widely eaten bread in Ireland, Irish Brown Bread.
I always make brown bread at home (will teach you that in another blog), but still love to make this bread for special occasions all year long. There’s nothing quite like a slice of this raisin and butter enriched bread, hot from the oven, slathered with a good Irish butter and a cup of hot tea.
In Ireland, soda breads are baked in different shapes based on the region of Ireland where you live. In the Southern regions, it’s shaped and baked as a round loaf with a cross marked on top. In the North regions, the soda bread is flattened into a round disc and divided into four equal triangular shapes and then each triangle is cooked on a flat griddle (this method was perfect when unexpected guests dropped by and you wanted to get the bread out quickly.
Traditions still carry on and the aroma and taste of traditional soda bread has become the established favorite with tourists and local alike—all throughout the year, not just at St. Patrick’s Day.
Here’s my favorite recipe. I hope you’ll try it with a nice cup of Irish tea!
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup sugar
6 tablespoons softened butter
1 1/3 or so cups buttermilk
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar
into a mixing bowl. Using the tips of your fingers, or a pastry
cutter, rub the butter into the flour. Make a well in the flour and
pour in the buttermilk all at once. Mix with a wooden spoon or by
hand, just until all the liquid is incorporated.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and shape into a circle
about 1 ½-inch thick. Make a deep “X” cut across the top of the
dough with a sharp knife. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.