Nothing conjures Ireland like the aroma of Irish soda bread cooling on your wire rack. It's wholesome, tasty and a family favorite that will make any gathering an authentic Irish one. So what are you waiting for, here's a quick and easy guide to baking your own:
5 cups sifted all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
2 1/2 cups mixed light and dark raisins, soaked in water for 15 to 20 minutes and drained
3 tablespoons caraway seeds
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter 2 (9 by 5-inch) bread pans.
Stir together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in the butter and mix very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.
Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture. Stir until well moistened. Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in the pans.
Bake for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick to ensure evenly baked. Cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.