My nephew Johnathon took it upon himself to be the taste taster. After multiple cups of tea and lots of butter and jam he proclaimed Mrs. Riordan's loaf to be his favorite. (just slightly sweet with raisins and no seeds.) We told her at the funeral and she had to leave the viewing room - not the right place for such a big smile. And before you ask, no I don't have her recipe. I do have my favorite though. This makes a large round loaf that isn't too heavy but not too light....a Goldilocks loaf!
Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 1-1/2 cups dark raisins
- 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
- 2 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well a 2-quart round oven proof casserole dish.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. With a pastry blender or 2 knives used scissors fashion cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds. In a medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Remove 1 tablespoon of egg and set aside. Stir buttermilk into eggs then add to flour and stir until flour is moistened. Dough will be sticky.
Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and with floured hands, kneed dough about 10 strokes. Shape dough into a ball and place in casserole dish. With a sharp knife cut a 4 inch cross about 1/4 inch deep across the center of the ball. brush dough lightly with reserved egg. Bake dough about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. The top will look done before the inside is cooked. cool on wire rack 10 minutes then remove bread from the dish and cool completely on rack.
Alternate directions: If you have a strong mixer, first add the dry ingredients and the butter, then add the egg and buttermilk. Kneed dough in the mixer for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and roll into a ball. Place in the casserole dish. With this method the caraway seeds are broken up very small so yo get the flavor without some of the "seediness." Now this makes a big loaf but it is great toasted the next day or even in a bread pudding. (With a bit of Irish Whiskey sauce over the top!)
Have a great St. Patrick's Day!