Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patricks Day everybody! I am posting a recipe for Irish Soda Bread that my friend Marianne Brooks shared with me a few years ago. Marianne's mother was Irish and her father was Italian (what a quinky~dink...I'm part Irish and Matt is part Italian).

According to Wikipedia, "soda bread dates back to approximately 1840, when baking soda was introduced to Ireland. Because the climate of Ireland hinders the growth of hard wheat (which creates a flour that rises easily with the assistance of yeast), bicarbonate of soda replaced yeast as the leavening agent.
There are several theories as to the significance of the cross in soda bread. Some believe that the cross was placed in the bread to ward off evil. It is more likely that the cross is used to help with the cooking of the bread or to serve as a guideline for even slices.
Soda bread eventually became a staple of the Irish diet. It was, and still is, used as an accompaniment to a meal."

Mom Moran's Irish Soda Bread

4 c. flour for bread

3 Tbs sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

6 Tbs butter

1 c. currants or raisins

1 Tbs caraway seeds

2 c. buttermilk

Stir baking soda into buttermilk, let rise. Sift dry ingredients together. Add caraway seeds, raisins. Cut in butter. Add buttermilk mixture, combine. Place on floured board and knead 5 minutes. Shape into 2 balls, place in greased cast iron frying pans. Using a floured knife, cut a cross in top 1/4" deep. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown.

It is best served warm with a pat of butter.

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