Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day! So, naturally, I had to bake something for the occasion. I looked through the recipes that I had stolen from my mom’s recipe box and found one for Irish bread, and the decision was made. Funny enough, after I had already made the Irish bread, I got a call from Sandy (her recipes include Trout Farm Apple Pie and Oh Henry Bars) asking if I wanted an Irish recipe for my blog this week. I told her I had already baked some Irish bread, only to find out it had actually been her recipe, and the recipe she was planning on giving me, that I had used. Weird how things like that happen.
Anyways, I was in New Haven for the weekend visiting a friend still working at Yale, so I had the lovely Marj as a sous chef in this particular adventure. She’d never had Irish soda bread (the horror!), but did approve of the end result enough to bring it to a parade viewing party today. And though my mom does stand by the fact that Stop & Shop Irish Soda Bread is the best, this particular recipe definitely does its job as a homemade alternative.
First, cream together the sugar, crisco, and egg. Marj has a blue stand mixer that we wanted to use, and I have to admit that although it’s no buttercup yellow, it was a nice color.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder). Another cool kitchen gadget of Marj (I’m sure you can see why we’re friends) was her flexible mixing bowl. You just pinched the sides together to make a spout for pouring!
Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the bowl of the stand mixer, keeping it at a low speed and beating until well combined.
Finally, add the caraway seeds and raisins (heaping amounts of both – you can never have too many caraway seeds in Irish bread) and stir until evenly distributed.
Spread batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350°F for about an hour, maybe a little more, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. I think Irish bread tastes better when you leave it out for a bit and let it get a little hard, but if you want to eat it warm, I’m not going to stop you.
On another, unrelated, note: while Marj and I were waiting for the bread to bake, we were talking a little about Lent. Marj doesn’t celebrate it, but mentioned that if she did, she would rather do something positive than give up something for the 40 days. I was thinking about it later that day and realized that I liked the idea as well, but in addition to giving up something. For the past two weeks, I happened to bake things for other people (my cake for Mimi and this bread for Marj), which made me think that I could have the counterpart to my giving up sweets be baking sweets for others every week of Lent. So if you’re reading this and desperately in need of a treat that I could bake for you, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup crisco
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- Cream together egg, sugar, and crisco.
- Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
- Alternate adding dry ingredients and buttermilk, beating after each addition.
- Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.
- Bake in greased loaf pan for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in loaf pan for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.