How do you like your Irish Soda Bread? With carraway seeds or without? I prefer without because I feel that the carraway seeds take away from the flavor of the bread, which by itself is delicious. I was really excited to make Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day. Irish Soda Bread is a traditional bread that uses baking soda for rising rather than yeast and it's usually filled with raisins or currants. I decided to make mine with raisins, orange zest and no carraway seeds. The result? Delicious! It's even more delicious when you take a slice, toast it and add some butter (and a dash of salt) to it. Mmm... I really hope you take an opportunity to make your own Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day! It's well worth the effort.
4 cups of flour
4 heaping teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons of salt
4 tablespoons of cold butter diced
1 egg beaten
1-3/4 cups of cold buttermilk
orange zest (to taste)
1 cup of plump raisins (don't get the boxed ones)
1 tablespoon of flour
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Dust your raisins with the flour. Set aside.
Mix all your dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Again, for you baking snobs you can sift to your hearts' content.
Chop up your butter and add it to the dry ingredients. Get your hands in there and smush the pieces of butter with your fingers.
Add your buttermilk, egg and orange zest and with a large spatula, incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry. Then take a handheld mixer and at a low speed, incorporate the ingredients thoroughly. Add the raisins and work into the dough with your hands. Your hands will get sticky so you can dust them with flour beforehand to make this process easier.
Scoop out the dough and lay it out on a well-floured surface. Knead the dough and dust it with flour as you go. Knead it until it forms a nice lump that you can form into a round, but flat ball of dough. Make sure not to over-knead.
Add your round and flat dough ball to a greased baking sheet. With a knife, cut an X on the top of the bread. This will help create a nice surface as it bakes.
Bake in your preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle (not the sides please!) comes out clean. It's good to eat while hot with some butter but is just as delicious when eaten at room temperature.