Irish Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread is crusty on the outside and soft and dense on the inside. It is a perfect compliment to your breakfast tea or as a side with hearty stew at dinner.
- 4 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 cup currants or raisins
- 1 Nature's Yoke egg, lightly beaten
- 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl.
- Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, then add in the currants or raisins.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir.
- Dust hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add in a little more flour. Do not over-knead!
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Note that the dough will be a little sticky (a little like a shortcake biscuit dough). You want to work it just until the dough comes together. The bread will get tough if you knead it too much.
- Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet (it will flatten out a bit in the pan or on the baking sheet). Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about an inch and a half deep in an "X" shape. (The purpose of the scoring is to help heat get into the center of the dough while it cooks.)
- Bake until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-45 minutes. (If you use a cast iron pan, it may take a little longer as it takes longer for the pan to heat up than a baking sheet.) Check for doneness by inserting a long, thin skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, it's done.
- Remove pan or sheet from oven, let bread sit in the pan or on the sheet for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool briefly. Serve bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted. Best when eaten warm and just baked.