This post originally published on March 14, 2011. Photos updated on March 1, 2016.
I avoid the Irish soda bread trend every Saint Patrick’s Day. Partly because I’m a party pooper and only do themed posts for the super important holidays but mostly because every other food blogger has a post about soda bread going up about this time. Plus bread with raisins? That doesn’t even have yeast? Not my thing.
As I mentioned in my recent post about pasta with raisins, I’m trying to be more open-minded with food and even though I was convinced this was going to come out as a hard disk filled with sugary-sweet raisins, I forged ahead. (It’s also a good idea to ask someone you really trust for a recipe!)
I cannot tell you how shocked I am! This bread reminds me of something, maybe a biscuit? It’s soft and fluffy inside with little pockets of sweetness from the raisins and richness from the butter. I’m not sure you could make a better bread, to be completely honest. And I threw it all together in about 15 minutes! Seriously.
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- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for kneading
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cold
- 1 cup currants or raisins
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- 1-3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon milk
- granulated sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375F. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and sugar. Add butter and cut in until crumbly. Stir in the raisins.
Combine egg and buttermilk and add to dry ingredients. Stir until blended.
Turn the dough out onto a wooden board sprinkled with flour. Knead the dough for a minute, no longer. If the dough is a little sticky, dust with some extra flour. Take care not to overwork the dough, or the bread will be tough.
Divide dough in half and shape each into a round loaf. Place each loaf into an 8-inch round cake pan or on a large baking sheet. Cut a cross on top of each loaf, about 1/2-inch deep. Then brush each with milk and sprinkle sugar on the top.
Bake 35-40 minutes until golden. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. Slice to serve.