Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated all across Iowa, and many of the innkeeper’s will be treating their guests to Soda Bread.  Traditional Irish soda bread calls for only four ingredients – flour, salt, baking soda, and sour milk, but many cooks add ingredients to give it more character.  Here is a Soda Bread recipe you can adjust to fit the needs of your guests.

Irish Soda BreadBake your soda bread the night before. In the morning, slice a couple of pieces and toast them to a crumbly gold. Top with melted Irish butter.

Ingredients
2¼ cups flour
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup (one half stick) cold butter — salted or unsalted
¾ cup milk (whole milk can be substituted with buttermilk)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 egg, beaten slightly
1 cup golden or dark raisins (optional)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)

Baking Instructions
Preheat oven to 375° and lightly grease a baking sheet or 9×5 inch loaf pan and set aside.

In large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into dry ingredients until crumbly. Add milk, vinegar and egg to separate small bowl. Mix well, then add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed in. Add golden raisins and caraway seeds and mix in gently.

Lightly flour your hands. Shape batter into a slightly domed round and place on baking sheet or in your 9×5 inch loaf pan. Dip a sharp knife in some flour and cut a cross in the top of the bread. Do not cut all the way through.

Place in oven and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes if a baking sheet is used, being sure you bake until golden brown. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean, if baked in a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.

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