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Sweet Irish Soda Bread with Raisins
Servings: 2 (8 inch) loaves
IRISH SODA BREAD
150 years ago it was common to make bread using baking soda rather than yeast in parts of rural Ireland.
That's where Irish soda bread gets its name.
The practice of using baking soda started out of necessity. Yeast won't make dough rise unless the baker uses "strong" flour, which was scarce in parts of Ireland. Baking soda, however, could be counted on to leaven bread. The baking soda has to be combined with something acidic in order to do its magic. In this case, buttermilk is used.
So, not only is this a historic and tasty recipe; it's pretty foolproof, too.
Serve this sweet and tasty Irish Soda Bread with lots of creamy butter, or double cream.
Roma Downey's Irish Soda Bread:
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Roma Downey is an authority on Irish cuisine. The "Touched By An Angel" star hails from Derry, in Northern Ireland. "Obviously, I grew up with Irish cooking," she says in her appealing lilt, "and it's a great deal different from the TV and movie stereotypes. For example, corned beef and cabbage is a very American form of Irish cuisine. I actually never had that growing up." Another Americanism is adding flavorings (such as currents or sultanas) to soda bread. In Ireland, raisins are added only when making tea bread, a sweet treat; and not if the bread is to be eaten with stew.
3 1/2 cups (875 mL) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. (50 mL) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (175 mL) raisins (optional)
1 tbsp. (15 mL) caraway seeds (optional)
1 tbsp. (15 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp. (2 mL) salt
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) buttermilk
3 tbsp. (50 mL) melted butter
In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, raisins and caraway seeds (if using), baking powder, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter and egg; pour over dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead lightly just until dough holds together. Place on greased baking sheet; flatten into 9 inch (23 cm) round. With sharp knife, score top into eighths. Bake in 375 degree F (190 degree C) oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake tester or toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Let pan cool on rack for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 8 servings.
Source: TV Guide, 2001
Date: March 2, 2003