In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m sharing my Nanny’s (grandmother’s) straight-from-Portuma-Galway recipe for Oirish soda bread. Like many such recipes, it’s easy to make…and easy to stuff up!
- 4 cups of all-purpose flou
- 1.5 cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 palm fulls of caraway seeds
- 1.5-2 cups of raisins
- approximately 2 cups of buttermilk
- Cover the bottom oven rack with aluminium foil
- Pre-heat oven to 375F/190C, with the top rack in the middle (nothing above it)
- Sift the flour into a large bowl
- Mix the dry ingredients above, in order. Start perhaps with a whisk, but a large wooden spoon works fine
- gradually add buttermilk, mixing into the bowl using the handle of a large wooden spoon
- Dough should be evenly mixed and very moist–it should still stick to your hands, the spoon, etc–but not with any liquid run-off
- Leave dough to stand for 1 hour with a cover (celo wrap or tea towel)
- Lightly flour 2 bake sheets
- Take half the dough and shape into a round “flying saucer” about 1″ high on the centre of each pan
- Gently carve an X across the top of the dough, so you can see about halfway in
- Very important: Gently sprinkle enough flour onto the top of the loaf so it’s fully covered: top and sides
- Put both pans into the oven: bake for approximately 25 minutes. one
- When you can slide a spatula under the entire loaf without it sticking it’s time for the trick!
- Turn the oven down to 275F/135C.
- Remove loaves from pans and place directly on upper oven rack
- Bake for additional 20 minutes
- Cut into loaves to see that dough is cooked in the middle (leave in for additional 5 minutes until no more gooey dough)
- Gently tap loaves while upside down to get rid of excess flour
- Serve with butter and a nice cup of tea!
- Give a toast to my Nanny, Anna Kathleen Gibbons Egan!