Sunday, October 4, 2009

Irish Soda Bread

When I was growing up one of our neighbors would always make Irish Soda Bread around St. Patrick's Day. That was the only kind I ever ate so that spoiled me for Irish soda bread. It was moist, studded with raisins, and absolutely delicious.

A few months ago I baked a version that didn't quite taste the way I remembered. To be honest it really didn't taste like Irish soda bread, more like white bread with raisins. So we tried again with a recipe I found online that uses a cast iron skillet to bake the bread in. This time the bread turned out great, nice and moist with just the touch of sweetness that Irish soda bread should have. The original recipe calls for caraway seeds but those were never in the Irish soda bread I grew up with so I left them out. Feel free to throw some in if that's your thing. I personally would rather just add more raisins...

Skillet Irish Soda Bread (adapted from Smitten Kitchen/NY Times)
Yield: 1 10-inch loaf.

Butter for greasing pan plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups raisins or currants

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch oven-proof skillet and line with parchment or waxed paper.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Stir in the raisins.
3. Pour batter into skillet. Brush top with remaining butter. Bake until golden and firm to touch, about 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.