Irish Soda Bread
Not only is it quick to make, it's quick to disappear!
Irish soda bread was not something I had growing up, even though my mother was Irish. When I first ran across it, I thought that caraway seed in a quick bread sounded kind of strange. But, to my surprise, I found that Irish soda bread with the caraway seed and raisins was delicious. It took me a while to try making it, but I am glad that I did. And so are my friends, as you can see from the picture above.
1 2/3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 large egg
2/3 cup buttermilk**
4 tablespoons melted butter
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Add the raisins and caraway seeds and mix thoroughly.
In another bowl whisk the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter together. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just until all ingredients are moistened. The batter will be stiff but still sticky. Using a spatula, scrape the batter out of the bowl onto a greased baking sheet.
Form the batter into a mound that is 6 or 7 inches in diameter. Use a sharp knife to cut an X shaped slash in the top of the batter. Bake in a 375 F preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the bread is a golden brown and a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. For best result, let the bread cool completely (if you can) before slicing.
**An option that I find convenient is to use a powdered buttermilk product instead of fresh buttermilk from the dairy case. Too often, I will buy buttermilk to use in a recipe and don't use it up before it spoils. The powdered buttermilk takes care of that problem. If you use powdered buttermilk, check the package for information on what amounts of powder and water to use. The one I use is 2 1/2 tablespoons of powder and 2/3 cup water. You can just mix the powder in with the dry ingredients and mix water with the egg and butter.
Another option is to bake the batter in a 6 cup loaf pan. If you choose to do that, use 5 tablespoons sugar and 1 cup of buttermilk. Mix as directed above and scrape into a well greased loaf pan. This should bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Check with a toothpick or skewer to make sure it is completely baked. Let the bread sit on a cooling rack in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely before slicing.
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