I had a little bit of buttermilk left in my refrigerator and I felt inspired by the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday to make Irish Soda Bread. I dug into my files for this recipe I found many years ago. I can’t remember where it came from or from whom, but it’s a moist and tender. This recipe also calls for caraway seed, which adds a nice flavor.
Irish soda bread was first made in the late 1830’s with the newly created baking soda. It’s said that Native Americans first created this bread using the natural form of soda, which is pearl ash. Pearl ash is formed from the ashes of wood and is a non-yeast leavener. During the famine in Ireland, soft wheat, salt, baking soda and sour milk (also known as buttermilk) were very inexpensive and available. The combination of sour milk and baking soda acted as the leavening agents.
In addition to the aforementioned items, you’ll need salt, unsalted butter, dark seedless raisins and eggs. The recipe says to knead the dough for 10 strokes, or until thoroughly mixed. Using both a fork and spoonula, I was able to mix the dough without dirtying my hands. I bake my bread in a high-side ceramic soufflé dish. The soda bread comes out perfectly, just make sure that your dish is well greased.
I enjoy eating this bread warm with a smear of butter; a cup of tea or coffee to accompany it is divine.
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
6 teaspoons unsalted butter
1-1/2 cup dark, seedless raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350°
Alternate method: I placed first five ingredients in food processor and pulsed. I then added butter and pulsed until the mixture resembled coarse meal. I removed flour from processor and placed in a large mixing bowl. I added raisins and caraway seed and continued with step 3.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.