When March rolls around we start thinking of all things Irish…especially the closer it gets to the 17th. St. Patrick’s Day is popular worldwide, and the celebrations – from green beer to green-dyed rivers – reach all corners of the world. For me, St. Patrick’s Day brings back memories of the week my husband and I spent in Ireland for our honeymoon. Pub after pub, Guinness after Guinness, and an amazing array of comforting pub food.
Every year as a tribute I like to make a pot of hearty beef or lamb stew, spiked with a good dose of Guinness Stout. To go with it, a tender, crumbly loaf of Irish soda bread, which comes together in minutes and is so worth the effort.
I typically stud mine with caraway seeds and raisins, but this year I’m going sweet, with chopped semisweet chocolate instead.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups raisins
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a baking sheet; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, raising and caraway seeds. In another bowl, whisk together 2 of the eggs, buttermilk and butter. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until a dough forms – it will be craggy and a bit sticky.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Form into a round loaf shape and place on baking sheet. Beat remaining egg and brush over loaf. Cut an “X” in the top using a sharp knife. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer bread to a wire rack to cool.