The Bread of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick's DayCan you believe it? I have never made a traditional St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage meal! Unbelievable. This year I decided to get in the spirit and cook some Irish soul food. Many years ago I had a neighbor, Peg McGuire, that was from Donegal, Ireland. I loved having St. Patrick’s Day dinner at her house. She was a quick wit and made some mean corned beef and cabbage, but my favorite was her Irish Soda Bread. Corned Beef and CabbageI never asked her for the recipe and I was kicking myself last weekend when I wanted to make the real deal Irish Soda Bread. It was a hearty bread with lots of plump raisins and plenty of caraway seeds.

For days I searched the internet for various Irish Soda Bread recipes – some seemed to simple and didn’t sound like what Peg made and some to “Americanized”. So, that left me to take the elements of several recipes that were fairly consistent to make my own recipe. I have to say that on my first try my Irish Soda Bread was truly delicious and was close to my memories of Peg’s bread – thus her name as my recipe. Peg's Irish Soda BreadThis is a great bread for breakfast with some Kerrygold Irish butter or for any winter meal, like a hearty stew.

Peg’s Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 to 2 1/2 cups raisins
2 tbsp caraway seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk
1 cup low fat sour cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 8 inch round baking or cake pan.
Combine 4 cups of flour (reserve 1 tbsp), the sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, raisins and caraway seeds into a large mixing bowl.
In a smaller bowl, blend eggs, buttermilk and sour cream. Stir the liquid mixture just until flour is moistened. Combine the ingredients with a large rubber spatula and combine only until the dough comes together – it will be very sticky. Place the dough in the prepared pan and pat down. Cut a 4 x 3/4 deep slit in the top of the bread – it will be more like dragging the knife through as the dough is so sticky. Dust the top with the reserve flour.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 65 to 75 minutes – the top should be a beautiful golden brown. Let cool and turn bread out onto a wire rack. Enjoy with plenty of irish butter!

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