Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread has always been a favorite of mine.  With fluffy raisin-packed loafs popping up all over the place (in honor of St. Patrick’s Day), my roommate and I became inspired to make some of our own.  We collected the ingredients about a month ago, but of course life got in the way and we never got around to using them.  This morning, I realized it might be nice to bake the bread and gift it to my landlady who lives upstairs (she’s 94- and spunky!).  The recipe resulted in rich delicious bread, and an incredible-smelling apartment.  Soooo, without further ado, LA RECETTE:

Ingredients:

4 cups of flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

4 tbsp butter

1 cup raisins

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.  Using your hands or two knives, gently work the butter into the flour mixture, until it becomes coarse.  Then, add in the raisins.  Make a well in the middle of the mixture, and add egg and buttermilk to the well.

   Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir.  

Lightly flour hands, then knead dough for a short time- just until you are able to form a loose ball- DO NOT OVER KNEAD.  Transfer balled dough into slightly greased oven-safe skillet.  Using a serrated knife, score the top of the dough with an “X” about 1 1/2 inch deep, allowing heat to reach the center of the dough while cooking. 

Place entire skillet in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes (until top is golden and a skewer can be cleanly inserted and removed from loaf).  Allow bread to sit for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Serve warm or room temperature.

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