Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread© iStockphoto/Thinkstock
St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a loaf of this traditional Irish bread, but don’t wait until it’s offered in the stores. This easy-to-make bread can be topped with a sprinkling of seeds or oatmeal, and is a wonderful accompaniment to stews and hearty soups.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups currants or raisins
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk

    How to make it  

  • 1

    In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the currants or raisins and caraway seed.

  • 2

    Set aside 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and remaining eggs, and stir until they are well blended. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the well and stir just until the flour is moistened and a sticky dough forms.

  • 3

    Flour a work surface well. Turn out the dough onto the work surface and, using well-floured hands, knead the dough about 10 times. Shape the dough into a round loaf.

  • 4

    Lightly grease a 9-inch round baking pan. Place the loaf in the prepared pan. Using a sharp knife, cut a cross, 1/4-inch deep, in the top center of the loaf. Brush the loaf with the reserved egg.

  • 5

    Bake at 350ºF until a toothpick inserted near the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. If the loaf top browns too quickly, tent loosely with foil for the final 20 minutes of baking time. Remove to a wire rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan to the rack to cool completely.

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