Sunday, January 29, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Most people only make Irish Soda Bread in the month of March. We love eating this lovely bread year round. Sometimes I make it with organic dried currents when I don't have raisins on hand.

4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup raisins
1 egg
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
(if you don't have buttermilk, you can sour the milk by placing 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus enough milk to equal 1 3/4 cups in a 2-cup measuring cup. Stir. Let stand 5 minutes before using.)

Oven preheated 350. Grease a large baking sheet or use your baking stone. Set aside.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins.

Beat egg in a medium bowl using a fork. Add buttermilk. Beat until well combined. Add buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until mixture forms a soft dough that clings together and forms a ball.

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead dough gently 10 to 12 times. Place dough on the prepared baking sheet. Pat dough into a 7 inch round. Score the top of the dough with tip of a sharp knife, making an X about 4 inches long and 1/4 inch deep.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Immediately remove from the baking sheet, cool completely on a metal rack or I use a cotton dishtowel.

Bread is best eaten the day it is made.

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