This recipe is far from traditional but it is tradition in my family. The resulting bread is a tad sweet with a flaky, tender crumb reminiscent of a scone. The caraway seeds are optional but, to me, it doesn’t taste right without them!
IRISH SODA BREAD
makes 1 loaf
3 tbsp cider vinegar
3/4 cup milk + more for brushing the top
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter
1/2 cup raisins
2 tbsp caraway seeds, optional
Preheat oven to 400F. Mix together the milk and vinegar and set aside to “clabber” (curdle) while you proceed with the rest. The milk will thicken and curdle a bit- it’s normal.
Mix flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and toss with the dry ingredients in the bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembled coarse cornmeal. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds, if using.
Make a well in the center and pour in the clabbered milk. Stir vigorously with a fork to fully incorporate the wet into the dry. The dough will be shaggy.
Turn the contents of the bowl out onto a floured surface. Knead 8-10 times to get everything to come together. Shape into a ball and, using a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top – about 1/2″ deep. Place into a shallow greased pie plate or parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the top with milk.
Bake for 15 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 375F and bake for another 30-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when knocked.
Let cool completely then slice and serve – slathered in Irish butter if you like.