Happy St Patrick’s Day everyone! I’ve already posted a few festive desserts but yesterday I decided to throw together an Irish soda bread to celebrate as well. I’ve never made Irish soda bread so it was also a chance to try something new in the kitchen. This is not a yeast bread so it can be put together in relatively quick fashion with just a few ingredients.

Watching this bread bake was really interesting. The cross you cut into the bread before putting it into the oven allows the bread to expand attractively as it bakes. It was neat to watch the expansion and to see the way the dough rose to fill the gaps. When the bread is finished, it has a nice crisp exterior crust and a moist, dense interior. I learned when I tried the bread that I really dislike caraway seeds but otherwise, the flavor of the bread was great! I passed the rest of the bread along to my family and they raved about it as well.

American-Style Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway Seeds
from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1 cup raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt together in a large bowl. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Combine the buttermilk and egg with a fork. Add the buttermilk-egg mixture, raisins and caraway seeds to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough begins to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead just until the dough becomes cohesive and bumpy, about 30 seconds.

Pat the dough into a 6-inch round about 2 inches thick, and lay on the prepared baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, cut a large 3/4-inch deep cross into the top of the loaf. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. The internal temperature of the bread should be 170 F.

Let the loaf cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour.

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