I know this recipe is totally out of date, being that St. Patrick's Day has already come and gone. But I loved this recipe and I don't want it to get lost in the shuffle! I am going to make this again soon, but I want to try doing a savory version with herbs and cheese.
I'm not Irish, not even close. But I do look forward to St. Patricks Day dinner at my mom and dad's house every year. She does the full feast- corned beef and cabbage, rye bread, boiled potatoes- the works. It makes the whole house smell amazing! Everyone looks forward to when my dad starts cutting the corned beef so we can casually walk by to take a look.... and snitch a bitzky bite on the way. This year I wanted to try my hand at baking some Irish Soda Bread to add to the dinner. It is a favorite of mine, but never made it myself. I followed a basic recipe and it turned out delicious. Only slightly sweet from the raisins, and a little bit dense, it made for the perfect accompaniment to sop up all the wonderful juices from dinner.
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Irish Soda Bread
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup raisins
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk together 4 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl.
Using your fingers (or two knives or a pastry cutter), work the butter into the flour mixture until it gets nice and grainy, stir in the raisins.
Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk and egg. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until it is too difficult to stir. Lightly cover your hands in flour, and carefully knead the dough until it forms a ball. If it is too sticky, add a bit more flour. Try not to over knead or it will become tough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter and shape into a round ball. The dough should be sticky and kinda rough looking. That is ok! You don't want to add too much flour or work it too much.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased baking sheet. With a serrated knife, make the traditional "X" in the center of the bread. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Insert a cake tester, or toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean it is done. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool a bit more. Serve warm with lots of yummy butter!