A simple and scrumptious quick bread perfect for St. Patrick's Day - or any day you want! This Irish Soda Bread is a recipe passed down from my Great-Great-Aunt Lizzie Reilly, and it's a soft and delicious treat.
2cupsall-purpose unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting a work surface
1 ½teaspoonsbaking powder
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Grease an 8-inch round baking pan, or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and caraway seed in a large bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine.
Add in the raisins and toss to mix them into the flour mixture.
Using about ⅔ of a cup of the buttermilk, stir it into the dry mixture a little at a time, just until you have a soft, somewhat sticky dough.
Sprinkle a work surface with flour. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface. With floured hands, knead a few times until the stickiness is gone and the dough is smooth.
Shape the dough into a rounded loaf. Place the loaf into the greased baking pan or on the baking sheet. Use a sharp knife or lame to slash the top of the dough. (A cross is traditional.)
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° F. Brush the top of the loaf with some of the remaining buttermilk.
Continue to bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes more, brushing the top with buttermilk 1 to 2 more times during baking. The finished loaf will be browned and sound hollow when tapped.
Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out of the pan and onto a cooling rack. Allow it to cool about 20 minutes before slicing. Serve with butter.
This bread is the most delicious served on the day it is baked. The cooled bread can be wrapped and stored at room temperature for 1-2 additional days.
A quick survey of other Irish soda bread recipes out there showed about a 50-50 split of some including caraway seed, some not. Some recipes substitute cinnamon, or dried currants in place of the raisins. Caraway seeds and raisins are traditional ingredients and part of my family recipe, so that's what my Irish soda bread includes.
This is a bread with a short shelf-life, and it is meant to be enjoyed quickly. If you serve up this bread the same day it is baked, preferably still warm and with lots of butter, it will be gobbled up by your grateful, hungry fans.