Irish American Soda Bread
Naturally, I had to make soda bread to have alongside our Beef Guinness Stew! When Will and I were at the Blarney Castle (very cool, btw-if you ever get a chance to visit Ireland I highly recommend going to the Blarney Castle to kiss the stone!) we stopped at the little gift shop and I picked up The Best of Irish Breads and Baking, by Georgina Campbell. It's a great little book, with lots of recipes for Irish breads, cakes, pies, etc. This was my first time baking something from the book, and I was very pleased with the results. As a general rule, the Irish make brown bread in the morning to serve to their guests, but there were a couple of places I saw the traditional Irish-American soda bread on the tables.
4 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar, optional (I used)
3 tsp caraway seeds, optional (I omitted)
1/8 tsp cardamom, optional (I used)
2 tsp chopped citron/peel, optional (I used)
1 1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, spices, peel and raisins. Add in the butter and cut in with a pastry blender or two knives until crumbly. Beat the egg slightly and mix in with the buttermilk, and add to the dry ingredients and stir until blended. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 2 or 3 minutes, until smooth.
3. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape into loaves. Place in the prepared tins and press down until the dough fills the tins. With a sharp knife, cut crosses on the tops of the loaves. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until crisp and hollow-sounding when tapped on base. Cool on a wire rack and use the day of baking, if possible.