I have been making a list lately of recipes and techniques I have never attempted. This was one that seemed fairly fast and easy with ingredients I had on hand. Irish soda bread is a classic Italian quick bread that uses baking soda as its leavener. It is usually made with buttermilk and is speckled with currants or raisins and caraway seeds. Before baking, a cross is sometimes slashed on the top of the loaf. The purpose of the cross, legend says, is to scare away the devil.
The recipe I found used sour cream in place of the buttermilk(sour cream being something I have on hand more regularly) but gives you that same tangy flavor. I used raisins in my loaf but currants would be yummy too. Dried currants can be found in your grocery store with the other dried fruits, or in the baking aisle. I am thinking I may add candied lemon peel or citron next time I make it to inhance the flavor even more. We don’t care for caraway, so I left them out.
I ended up getting my hands into the dough to get the flour incorporated. There is not much liquid in this recipe, and the dough is VERY sticky. hands seems like the best option.
I had to portion it into the pan with my hands into the pans. I was not able to slash the top since this was so sticky.
I feared it was going to be so dry, but it baked up nice, with a great texture. It is similar in flavor to other Italian breads, with the nice tang of the sour cream. I am eager to try it toasted, but it was also great just out of the oven, topped with butter.
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pint sour cream
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two 8×4-inch loaf pans. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, sour cream and raisins and mix until just combined. Distribute batter evenly between both pans. Bake loaves at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 1 hour. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack.