Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway Seed

























I don't usually wait for St. Paddy's day to make this bread.  I make it often because it is one of the easiest breads to make and it goes perfectly with that cup of coffee in the morning. It's a quick bread that is so simple to make and so few ingredients. It requires no yeast so there's no rising and kneading or any of those steps.  You simply need a base of flour, baking soda and buttermilk!  You can make it sweet or savory....I make the classic Irish Soda Bread with lots raisins and caraway seeds. But you can add what you like.  As a matter of fact you can make it start to finish in less than an hour!  Hot crusty sweet bread from oven to table in no time! And absolutely delicious!

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway Seed

5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 1/2 cups raisins
3 tablespoons caraway seeds
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter a heavy 10 inch cast iron skillet with at least 2 inch high sides. Then line the skillet with parchment paper.  If you don't have a cast iron skillet you can use any heavy skillet or a cake pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and using your fingers, work it into the dry ingredients to form a crumbly dough.  Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.
Next, whisk buttermilk and egg in medium bowl to blend. Add to the dough mixture and stir with spatula or wooden spoon until ingredients are incorporated.  Using your hands work the dough to make sure all ingredients are mixed in well.  Bring the dough together as much as you can and then shape it into a round 9 inch loaf and place in your prepared skillet. At this point the dough will be very sticky.  Smooth out the top.







Using a sharp  knife, make an X in the top of the dough, going in about 1 inch deep. This is important as it will allow this dense bread to cook through.  You can dip your sharp knife into flour if you need to. 







Bake until bread is cooked through and a skewer inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour, no longer than an hour and 10 minutes. Cool bread in skillet 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely. Irish Soda Bread is best eaten the same day and especially served warm out of the oven!  Store leftover bread tightly wrapped in foil.























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