Every March,before St.Patrick’s Day,I look forward to preparing this simple-to-make Irish soda bread.It isabsolutely the best that I have ever come across.This recipecame to me by way of Ellen Meehen,whose family hails fromthe Emerald Isle.The characteristic cross that appears on top of Irish sodabread is made by cutting deeply into the round of dough before it is baked.This is best done with the blade of a single-edge razor blade,available in most drug stores.A sharp,thin-bladed paring knife will do in a pinch,but it tears the dough and you won’t achieve the same result.
1.Position the rack in the lower third of the oven.Heat the oven to 375°F.Generously butter two 8-inch layer cake pans and set aside.2.In a large bowl,thoroughly whisk together the flour,sugar,caraway seeds,bakingpowder,and salt.3.Add the butter to the flour mixture,and using a pastry blender,work the butterinto the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal.Stir in the raisins.4.In a small bowl,blend together the buttermilk,baking soda,whole eggs,and eggwhite.Stir the liquids into the flour mixture,blending together with a fork.When theliquids are absorbed,turn the batter onto a floured work surface.The mixture will besticky.With floured hands,knead lightly
until the dough is smooth.5.Divide the dough in half.Working with one piece of dough at a time,lightlyflour the cut side and shape into a ball.Place into a prepared pan and flatten slightly.
4 cups sifted,unbleached all-purpose flour,spooned in and leveled,plus 2 to 3tablespoons for kneading
cup sugar1 tablespoon caraway seeds2 teaspoons baking powder
cup (1 stick) unsalted butter,cut into
-inchcubes,at room temperature1 to 2 cups dark raisins,plumped(see page 389)1
cups buttermilk1 teaspoon baking soda2 large eggs1 large egg white1 large egg yolk1 teaspoon water
irish soda bread
MAKES TWO 8-INCH ROUNDS,6TO 8 SERVINGS PER BREAD
Great Coffee Cakes,Sticky Buns,Muffins &More
AT A GLANCE
Two 8-inch round layer cake pans
45 to 50 minutes