Irish Soda Bread
Happy St. Patrick’s Day

3 Cups All Purpose Flour (15 ounces)
1 Cup Cake Flour (4 ounces)
3 Tbs Sugar
1 ½ tsps. Baking Soda
1 ½ tsps. Cream of Tartar
1 ½ tsps. Salt
2 Tbs Unsalted Butter – softened
1 Tb Unsalted Butter – melted
1 ½ Cups Buttermilk

Heat oven to 400° and place rack in middle position of the oven.
Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt all together in a large bowl. Work the softened butter into the dry ingredients with a fork until it becomes a texture like small peas. Add buttermilk and stir with the fork just until all incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead the dough until it becomes cohesive but lumpy – about 14-16 turns. No need to knead it until it becomes smooth or the bread will be tough. Pat the dough into a round that measures about 6 inches X 2 inches high. Place the dough on a lightly greased parchment paper on a heavy duty baking sheet. Make a cross on the top of the dough. Bake until the bread is golden brown and a tester in the center comes out clean. This should be 40 – 45 minutes. As soon as you remove it from the oven brush it with the melted butter.An Irish childhood friend of mine told me that in Ireland this bread is not made with caraway seeds or raisins. I found that astounding as I thought both were a key ingredient in the recipe. But she said the idea of the bread was to keep it simple and easy to make.Sometimes I make it with caraway seeds by adding 1 Tb of caraway seeds to the dough when mixing. Sometimes I add raisins – 1 Cup that I have let soak for 20 minutes in warm water and then drain well and blot dry. Sometimes I add both but mostly I do add raisins. I have seen recipes where a beaten egg is added to the milk. I have not done that. Whatever you do, make it your own (but no green dye, please) and enjoy.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.