I grew up in a neighborhood filled with families of Irish decent and they were all proud of that fact. It was as if the whole neighborhood lived for the month of March. Corned beef, Irish coffees (for the adults) and Irish soda bread. Each family had their own recipe for soda bread. I have to admit that my favorite was not my mother's, it was Mrs. O's recipe from two doors up the street and I must not have been the only one since my mother now only makes Mrs O's recipe each March.
Whenever my mother would bake this recipe for us she would point out how lucky we were since this recipe calls for butter, sugar and extra buttermilk, things that only a "Lace Curtain" family could afford back in the day.
Lace Curtain Irish Soda Bread
4 1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon butter (chilled and cut into small pieces)
1 1/2 cups raisins
2 cups buttermilk *I always use whole buttermilk. If you must, you can use low fat but NEVER use fat-free*
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9 inch cake pans.
2. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. *I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer*
3. Cut the chilled butter pieces into the dry ingredients.
4. In a separate bowl mix the buttermilk and eggs until combined.
5. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. It will be a wet and sticky dough.
6. Slowly add the raisins to the dough until just combined.
7. Evenly divide the dough between the two cake pans. *I never try to go to the edges of the pan. I just try to make two even mounts in each pan*
8. Bake for one hour.
Since I never try to go to the edges of the pan my loafs of soda bread are uneven but I think that gives it a more home-made feel. This recipe will stay fresh for a couple of days as long you don't slice it. For whatever reason, as soon as you slice a loaf it starts to dry out.
And since Hubby gave up sweets for Lent and it looks like we will be snowed in for a day or two, I quickly sliced up the bread and brought it up to the kiddos' school. There was no way I was going to be snowed-in with two loaves for soda bread calling my name!!!!
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