One of the good things about a holiday falling midweek is that you can justify celebrating it on the weekend before, on the actual day, and on the following weekend.
So, if you think I’m a little late in getting this recipe out for Irish Soda Bread, then think again. True, you probably have better plans than staying home tonight and making this. But you still have time to make it and serve it this weekend, spreading the holiday good cheer to family and friends.
This recipe comes from the March 1994 edition of Gourmet Magazine. It is not on the magazine’s website (Epicurious.com) so I’m happy I saved most every issue dating back to the mid-80s. In that issue, the author, Jeanne Lemlin, wrote that she spoke with Irish housewives and professional chefs along Ireland’s southwestern coast to find several recipes, including this one, my favorite.
It’s quick and easy to make and great to eat most anytime: at breakfast, dinner or with paper-thin slices of unsalted butter and tea in the late afternoon.
- All-purpose, unbleached flour (2 cups) (Note: I sifted it first, although the recipe does not call for that.)
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour (1 cup) (See note above.)
- Sugar (1/2 cup)
- Baking soda (2 tsp.)
- Salt (1 tsp.)
- Unsalted cold butter, cut into bits (1/2 stick or 1/4 cup)
- Raisins (1 cup)
- Caraway seeds (2 tsp.)
- Buttermilk (1 1/2 cups, plus a little more to brush the bread before baking.)
What I did:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
Add butter and toss to coat with flour. With fingertips rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add raisins and caraway seeds and toss until coated.
Add buttermilk and stir until dough is moistened evenly (do not overwork dough).
On a floured surface knead dough 1 minute, sprinkling lightly with additional flour to prevent sticking.
Shape dough into a ball and put into a buttered baking dish (1 1/2 quart round or 8 inches in diameter) or just put it on a floured (but not greased) baking sheet.
With a sharp knife cut a shallow X in top of the loaf and brush the loaf with buttermilk.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 55 or 60 minutes, or until golden brown.
Turn bread onto a rack and cook completely before slicing.
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