My cookbook love is well documented, and, as I’ve said before, Kathleen’s Bake Shop is a favorite. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, (a special day in our lives because it’s also Sammy’s birthday), I’m sharing a recipe for Irish soda bread based on the one in her cookbook.
You: What the heck is soda bread? Is this more about your Diet Coke addiction?
Me: Good question. [sips Diet Coke loudly] Soda, in this case, refers to sodium bicarbonate, which is used to leaven the dough. Traditional breads use yeast, so these types of breads are called soda breads. [Thank you, Wikipedia]
My twist calls for soaking the raisins in rum before baking. The alcohol burns as it cooks, but the rum flavor adds a richness. If you opt to soak the raisins in rum, place raisins in a container and cover with very hot water to ‘plump.’ Let raisins sit in hot water for 5-10 minutes, and then drain. Return raisins to a container and pour rum over raisins. Let raisins marinate for a minimum of 24 hours before using. Make sure to drain raisins before adding them to the recipe.
- 4 cups flour
- 2 Tbs Sugar
- 1 Tbs Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1 cup Raisins (I soaked mine in rum)
- 3 Tbs Caraway Seeds (optional)
- 2 cups Buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Using a pastry blender, fork (or your hands), cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal
- Add raisins & caraway seeds and toss lightly
- Add buttermilk and toss mixture with a fork (I use my hands, or get out the mixer) until all dry ingredients are moistened. The dough will be very soft.
- Divide dough into two balls and lightly knead on a floured surface until dough is smooth.
- Place shaped balls on cookie sheet, and with a sharp knife, cut an X on the top of each loaf, about 1/4″ deep.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until crusty and golden.