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I will beat any Irish people to the punch – this is actually American Soda Bread. It is not in the least bit authentic. At least that is what the internet would lead one to believe, should one be interested in researching Irish Soda Bread. Which I was. Anyone who knows me will tell you – I have to know everything. If I don’t already know it, I look it up, which is what I was doing when I found out that no one in Ireland eats this sort of soda bread. Not a big deal, because neither do they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We don’t actually celebrate it either – much like the Super Bowl, we are just here for the food.
The real deal Irish Soda Bread isn’t this sweet and it has no raisins or caraway seeds. So, should any Irish folks wander into this blog – I get that this isn’t real Irish Soda Bread. This Americanized version is what I grew up with though, and what I’ve been craving for the past couple weeks. We went to Catholic church and school growing up – St. Patrick’s to be precise. And I have to say at that point in time we did indeed celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
This kind of Soda bread was de rigeur for church suppers during the month of March, and our Mom made it at home as well. What did we know – there were far more Italian people at St. Pat’s than Irish, and we ourselves, are German with some Scottish and a few other things thrown in. Anyway, I tweaked it around a bit [shocking of me, I know!] and came up with this sweet and and satisfying version.
But first – let us admire the lovely caraway seed, with it’s symmetrical little stripes. They’ve always looked like tiny bananas to me.
Irish Soda Bread
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 5 tablespoons cold butter cut in cubes
- 1 cup of raisins preferably golden or red
- 1 cup cold buttermilk well shaken
- Heat oven to 400º
- Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl - a whisk works well for this
- Using a pastry cutter, or your fingers, cut in the cold butter - pieces of butter, about the size of peas are what you are going for.
- Add the raisins, then stir in the buttermilk. Be careful not to overmix, as that will cause a tough texture.
- Turn out onto a floured board and form into a rough circle, about 6 or 7 inches in diameter. carefully move to the prepared sheet pan.
- Using a razor blade or very sharp knife, score a large X on the top of the loaf, and brush entire surface with buttermilk.
- Bake for 30 minutes, lower the heat to 350º and bake about 25 minutes more. You can test with a wooden skewer, which should come out clean when inserted near the center.
- Cool on a rack. Serve warm with butter and jam, or whatever topping you prefer. Best eaten within 24 hours, though it is still good toasted a few days later.
Doesn’t that look amazing?
I don’t think you have to be celebrating anything to enjoy this, but if you are, this bread will make it better!