Monday, March 10, 2014

Ready for St. Patrick's Day with "Easy Irish Soda Bread"

St. Patrick's Day will soon be here and here is a favorite treat for this fun holiday. Irish Soda Bread is Ireland's version of a classic quick bread. Baking soda was introduced to the country in the 1840s and was used as a leavening agent in this bread made from staple ingredients. A tradition in the preparation of this bread, carried on by many to this day, including me, is to cut a cross shape into the dough with a knife before baking the bread to ward off the devil and protect the household. Many families have treasured recipes abounding with favorite variations of this beloved bread, including my Grandma Cleva's recipe. She loved buttermilk in her soda bread and I carry on her buttermilk tradition in my own recipe.

In the United States, this bread has come to be known by many as a dessert bread, but in Ireland, as with many traditional Irish families in the US, it is to this day enjoyed served with the main course meal rather than as a dessert bread
This is my recipe take on Irish soda bread that includes raisins, a favorite ingredient addition of mine for pairing with this bread's tangy flavor and tender texture topped with a hard crust.

"Easy Irish Soda Bread"

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
2 cups raisins
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and dusting of flour. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, margarine and raisins. Add egg and 1 cup of buttermilk. Stir until mixture is combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round shape and place on baking sheet. In small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk. Brush buttermilk mixture over bread. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross shape or an 'X' into the top of the loaf. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on wire cooling rack. Enjoy! 

1 comment:

  1. THough I have never heard of soda bread. This soda bread still looks awesome.