By: Chef Laura Bonicelli
Irish Soda Bread with Caraway is a hearty quick bread. My version is slightly sweet and speckled with raisins. Buy your ingredients at your favorite Farmers Market!
About Irish Soda Bread with Caraway Seeds
My Irish Soda Bread with Caraway makes an 8-inch loaf. The origin of soda bread is attributed to Native Americans using naturally occurring sodium bicarbonate in pearl ash from wood to leaven the bread without yeast. The tradition of Irish Soda Bread began in the 1830s in Irland when commercial producers introduced baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Traditionally, soda bread is a round loaf with a cross cut in the top to ward off fairies. (Since I don’t seem to have a fairy problem, I thought I could skip that step.) The bread texture is scone-like and perfect for serving with soup, stew, or just a good amount of butter.
.putting it together
For our Irish Soda Bread with Caraway, as with any quick bread, we’ll get all of our dry ingredients mixed and then add in the wet ingredients. I use a whisk and stir and evenly distribute the ingredients. I cut the butter into small pieces and work it into the flour with my hands. Stir in the raisins at this point.
Remember, baking soda needs acid to work. (Cooking club members – see “Baking Basics – types of leavening” in the club.) Providing the acid is the function of the buttermilk in this Irish Soda Bread recipe; it has the acid. A quick fix if you don’t have buttermilk on hand; add some vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk. For this recipe, I would use one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Measure that into your measuring cup before you measure the milk. Then stir it up and let it sit while you get the rest of your ingredients together. You’ll notice the milk will curd slightly, which is fine. You’ll have enough acid to react to the sodium bicarbonate, and your bread will rise. As a general rule of thumb, I use roughly one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice per cup of milk. This recipe has a little over a cup of milk, but it’s enough acid.
If you feel your Irish Soda Bread with Caraway loaf is getting too brown, tent it with aluminum foil. I usually check the loaf after 30 minutes. Irish Soda Bread is always best served warm, so keep the butter handy!
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