Irish Soda Bread
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. Not that it’s a big holiday for me, though I can claim some Irish relatives, but mostly I like it because of the traditional Irish cuisine including soda bread.
Over the last several years, I’ve tried several soda bread recipes and this one is probably my favorite. It’s a good way to start making bread, if you’ve never made it before, and for a quick bread it’s pretty wholesome. I substitute whole wheat pastry flour for about 1/2 the all purpose flour.
1 1/3 C. whole milk
1/3 C. apple cider vinegar
3 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
2 1/2 t. coarse salt
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
2 oz. (4 T.) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 C. unprocessed wheat bran
1/4 C. caraway seeds
1 C. (5 oz.) raisins (I’ve also used some dried cranberries when I didn’t have enough raisins.)
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a baking sheet by lightly greasing or lining with parchment paper. Mix milk and vinegar in a small bowl, and let stand until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in unsalted butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add bran, caraway seeds, and raisins; stir to distribute.
Pour milk mixture into flour mixture; stir until dough just holds together but is still sticky. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat and press the dough gently into a round, dome-shaped loaf, about 7 inches in diameter. Transter to prepared sheet.
Lightly dust top of loaf with flour. With a sharp knife, cut an X into the top, 3/4 ” deep. Bake, rotating halfway through, until loaf is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Soda bread is best eaten the day it is made; serve with salted butter. (With butter, price usually makes a difference in taste. Try to purchase butter from small creameries. One we like that’s in Michigan is Moo-ville.)