Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Traditionally, I make a loaf of Irish Soda Bread for my family around St. Patrick's day in honor of my Irish heritage...  Besides, who wants to eat the alternative Irish fare... corn beef and cabbage?... blah.  While the Irish aren't particularly known for our culinary prowess, we sure know how to make a mean soda bread.  Okay, we know how to brew beer and bake soda bread to go with it.  How's that?

The recipe I use belonged to my great grandmother, Mary Theresa Forbes Walsh.  She was the mother of my dear Papa, my mother's father.  There isn't anything really interesting about the recipe.  It's pretty basic.  The only ingredient that might add some flare is the addition of caraway seeds.  In my opinion, this "makes" the bread.  However, my immediate family doesn't share that opinion and reluctantly I leave them out... sometimes.

My great grandparents: Joseph and Mary Walsh
My Papa is the cutie all the way to the right. 
Irish Soda Bread
by Mary Theresa Walsh
Preheat oven to 375.  Grease a cast iron skillet and heat it in the oven.  Plump 1c. of raisins in about 2 cups of hot water; set aside.

In a large bowl sift together the following dry ingredients:
4 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 TBS. Caraway seeds
1 c. plumped raisins (drained)

Next add 2c. buttermilk and stir until all is moistened.  Don't over stir. 
Carefully take the hot skillet out of the oven and dump the bread dough into the skillet.  Resist the urge to make it smooth and pretty.  I always think of the rocky terrain of Ireland as I leave the bread spikey and lumpy.  These imperfections will give much character to this simple bread.

Bake  40-45 minutes until golden.

Let the bread cool slightly before digging in... if you can wait that long.  This bread is so different from any other that I know and it makes THEE best toast the next morning.  

Irish Soda Bread.
ENJOY and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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