Sunday, March 13, 2011
Top of the mornin' to you!
There's nothing like a slice of fresh-baked Irish Soda Bread for the perfect Saint Patrick's Day breakfast. And it's really easy and quick to make. Serve it with plenty of butter and a good, strong cup of tea!
I got this recipe years ago. It makes one delicious round loaf! Buttermilk is the preferred mixing liquid since its acidity helps activate the bicarbonate of soda, releasing the bubbles that make the bread rise. You can also add caraway seeds to the batter when you add the raisins, although everyday soda bread in Ireland usually doesn't contain raisins. They reserve those for special occasions.
Your soda bread can be eaten hot. But it's more usual to let the loaf cool down before eating it (and it's a little easier to handle). It's also a lot easier to slice. Sláinte!
Irish Soda Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. chilled solid vegetable shortening
1 cup dark seedless raisins
3/4 cup buttermilk
In large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut shortening into flour with pastry blender until coarse crumbs form. Lightly stir in raisins. Add buttermilk. Toss with fork until dry ingredients are just evenly moistened. Knead dough 3 or 4 times. Shape into round loaf. Place on lightly greased baking sheet.Brush top with additional milk. Bake in preheated 375° oven 45 - 50 minutes or until golden brown and crusty. Cool on wire rack. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
Note: For a golden crust that's thin and crisp, with a bit of a chew, bake in a cast-iron pan. You can also cut a cross shape into the top.