The Fairy Princess has a secret – she is a baker.
Well, she’s a singer and a baker. A Singer who bakes! (my Irish music)
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day – I am going to give you my super secret Irish Soda Bread recipe. Originally it was, yes, from my Irish Grandmother, onto my Mother, but there have been a few modifications since then.
While you are getting everything ready, we’ll give you something to listen to – one of my Dad’s favorite songs & one of his favorite people to work with – Irish Balladeer, Paddy Reilly. (I love the man myself, he’s a class act)
Things to know – I do not put in salt in this recipe. I do not think you need it and I was used to making it for Dad, and he had to watch his salt intake. Also, caraway seeds (shudder) not necessary – many people nowadays cannot eat seeds, so in my opinion, if you are going to serve a group or give it as a gift – without seeds is better.
However, you can certainly throw in salt and caraway seeds if you so desire.
I only make Irish Soda Bread once a year, and I make A LOT of it – so be prepared, this is a recipe that you are going to get several loaves out of, and here we go:
5 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder (they are different)
2 Cups Buttermilk
4 Cups of Raisins (2 Gold, 2 Brown)
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
BUT IF YOU NEED TO MAKE A SMALLER BATCH:
3 1/4 Cups Flour
3 Tablespoons Butter
1/3 Cup of Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
2 Cups Raisins (1 Golden, 1 Regular)
Sift the dry ingredients together, rubbing in the butter as you go till it looks like cornmeal. Then add the Buttermilk and Eggs (beat the eggs before adding them) and mix VERY well. The Batter is going to be bulky and a bit hard to handle.
(If you think it is too dry for some reason, you can add another egg and some Buttermilk, sometimes in large batches, dryness can be a problem with the batter. If you do not want to add another egg – stick with adding Buttermilk or some extra sour cream.)
Fold in the raisins, try and make sure your batter is evenly imbued with raisins
Grease the bottom and sides of the pans being used, and flour them as well, so that the loaves pop out easily when cooled.
Bake at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for approx 40-45 minutes, depending on the pan.
Whilst ye are baking, you could have a ‘sing song’ with my old Touring mate – Brian “Red” Hurley. This is his Danny Boy Trilogy, it always brought the house down, as the saying goes. And he always said ‘Let’s have a Sing Song’ at some point in the show.
The loaves are done when you can insert a knife into the middle of the loaf and it comes out clean. Just watch it though, because a crumb or two on the knife is ok – you can really screw up Irish Soda Bread and make it too dry.
A few things – Irish Soda Bread can be plentiful around St. Patrick’s Day, My Soda Bread is a bit more cake-like – not so much bread. I put in way more raisins than most people and I put in both golden and ‘regular’ raisins because IT IS DELICIOUS to do so. The Golden Raisins add some kind of pop that is hard to describe, but it is much tastier with the Golden Raisins.
Also, not everyone uses Sour Cream, so if you cannot do Sour Cream, you can use the amount that is supposed to be Sour Cream and change it to Buttermilk.
I have baked it in small loaf pans, I have baked it in giant bundt pans, I have baked it in regular loaf pans – somehow it always seems to take at least 40 minutes to bake, regardless of the pan size. The smaller loaf pans I do check on beginning at 25 minutes, and then guess-timate from there.
The best way to serve ‘my’ Irish Soda Bread is with some butter and your favorite jam on top, accompanying a cup of tea. If you want to go ‘full tilt’ Irish – in honor of the day, there is Barry’s Tea (very popular)
Or I suppose you go could with another old standard….
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all because….
And when ye have a bit of the melancholia at the end of the day, because it will be another year till St. Patrick’s Day rears it’s head – here’s a song fer ya from The High Kings….