On Sunday March 16, I will be the Chef of the Day on Cookstr. Go to www.Cookstr.com/chefs to see my recipes. Since it will be only one day early, we're celebrating by having Irish Soda Bread.
I don't have to go back very far to find my Irish heritage as both of my maternal grandparents were Irish. Every year for St. Patrick's Day I bake Irish Soda Bread. Although it is easy to make, it's important not to knead vigorously or the bread will be tough. What is called Irish Soda Bread in the US, is actually Spotted Dog in Ireland.
Irish Soda Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup golden raisins
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk and mix until a sticky dough forms. Mix in raisins.
Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough gently 8 to 10 times or until dough comes together and is no longer sticky.
Divide dough in half and shape each half into a round loaf, about 7 inches across. Place on baking sheet. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until deep golden brown and no longer moist on the surface. Cool on wire cooling rack a few minutes before slicing. Makes 2 loaves.
Tip: This year I added sunflower nuts instead of raisins, using 1/3 cup.