Well, here’s the other recipe I made for that St. Patrick’s Day dinner. It has caraway seeds and raisins in it, which is the way all my friends’ moms made it when I was growing up. I have to say, though, that the caraway seeds are definitely not a favorite. So, by all means, leave them out, and the raisins, too, if you wish. Apparently, most Irish cookbooks don’t even use them to begin with. It’s just an American thing.
irish soda bread
2 cups (300g) golden raisins
3 cups (450g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (125g) cake flour
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/3 (290g) cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon melted butter
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (190 degrees celsius). Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with water. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, salt, caraway seeds, and baking powder. Stir to combine. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.
3. Drain water from the raisins. In the measuring cup or another small bowl, mix the baking soda, buttermilk, and the egg. Use a wooden spoon to gradually mix the buttermilk mixture and raisins into the flour mixture. Stir until mixture just comes together, then turn out onto a floured board. Knead a few times until the dough becomes cohesive but not smooth.
4. Work dough into an eight inch round and brush with melted butter. Use a large sharp knife to score an “X” in the dough (Don’t cut more than about 1/2″ deep.). Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
5. Bake the bread for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.