Irish Soda Bread

An alternative to the usual corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.

So maybe you’re part Irish like I am, but don’t feel like having corned beef like I don’t. Perfect. Make a stew or soup- did you freeze that ham bone from Christmas dinner?- and serve with this delicious, lightly sweet bread which tastes like a giant scone. Eating Irish food doesn’t have to be totally cliche… or even green. (But do eat the whole loaf soon because it doesn’t keep well. Sort of like rainbows.)

Irish Soda BreadIMG_3556
4.5 cups flour
3 Tbs plus 1 tsp sugar
1 Tbs caraway seeds
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup dried currants or raisins
2 cups buttermilk (or milk soured with lemon juice)
1 tsp butter

Heat the oven to 350F (180C). Grease and flour a 9inch (22-23cm) oven-proof skillet. In a large bowl, mix 4 cups flour, 3 Tbs sugar, caraway seeds, baking powder and soda, and salt. Stir in currants, making sure they are separated.

Add the buttermilk and mix with a fork to make a soft dough. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the remaining flour on a work surface, turn the dough out and knead till smooth, about 5 minutes. Use only as much remaining flour as needed to keep it from sticking.

Shape into a round loaf and press into prepared skillet. With a sharp knife, cut a 1/2 inch deep X across the top.

Bake for 1 hour until it is lightly browned. It should sound sort of hollow. Remove the bread from the skillet and rub the top with butter and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Cool slightly before cutting.

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