Irish Soda Bread

I am on my third loaf of Irish Soda Bread in preparation for the big celebration on the 17th.  The loaves have been gifts for my friends and a welcome change from other breads I have been making over the past several months. Whether you use dried raisins, cranberries or leave them out completely, you’ll love the ease of preparation of this rustic bread that is a natural when served with soup … or corned beef and cabbage!

Irish Soda Bread

Yield: 8 servings

3 cups + 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces

1/2 cup raisins, cranberries or currants, optional

1/2 teaspoon anise seeds

1-1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the 3 cups of flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the raisins and anise seeds. Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 10 times. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and sprinkle the top with the remaining flour. Using a sawing motion with a serrated knife, cut a 1-inch deep and 4-inch long X across the top. Bake for 45 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.