Irish Soda BreadPosted: January 11, 2012
From June 28, 2006: I will be teaching cooking and sewing/crafts to kids (ranging in ages from 3 to 10) at a summer camp next month. I’m very excited about it. I have been playing around with lots of recipes and this Irish soda bread is one I’m definitely going to do for the class. I’m going to divide the dough up into fourths and let the children do mini loaves instead of one big loaf. The four mini-loaves bake in about 20 minutes. Pricking the surface of the unbaked loaves is an old Irish tradition to “let the fairies out”. This is a nice bread for eating with a hearty stew or soup. It’s also good with butter and cherry preserves.
Irish Soda Bread
3 1/2 cups flour
1 to 3 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups butter milk (or sour milk…1 1/2 T. lemon juice and enough milk to make 1 1/2 cups)
1 T. carraway seeds (optional)
1 cup dark raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray baking sheet (or round 8-inch cake pan) with cooking spray.
Combine dry ingredients and carraway seeds, if using in a mixing bowl. Stir well to mix. Gently mix in the raisins, if using.
Add the buttermilk and stir gently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Dough should be soft, but not sticky.
Remove dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead it until it is smooth, about 1 minute. Form into a round loaf and place on the prepared pan. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross into the top of the loaf. Prick each quarter 3 or 4 times with a fork.
Bake the soda bread 45 minutes, until it is well risen, a deep brown color, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the loaf slightly on a rack. Serve warm with butter.
Irish soda bread is best eaten fresh.
Recipe adapted from the classic Irish cookbook, Full and Plenty: Breads and Cakes by Maura Laverty(Anvil Books, 1985).