A friend gave me this recipe for Irish soda bread, which she made for her class of French kiddies to teach them about St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a chewy, dense, slightly sweet bread which uses baking soda and buttermilk to rise in place of yeast. Which means, using this recipe you’ll have a loaf of hot bread in your hands within 45 minutes (instead of the few hours it takes to make a yeast bread). I ate the bread while still warm with a pat of butter; it dries out quickly and will not be good after a day or two.
The recipe calls for buttermilk (which is, by the way, simply the milk left over from the butter-making process) but an acceptable substitute can be made by mixing regular whole milk with white vinegar or lemon juice (1 Tbsp vinegar/lemon juice for 1 cup milk) and letting the mixture stand for 10-15 minutes.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup raisins
1. Combine all ingredients and mix just until moistened. The dough should be fairly thick and dense and hold its shape on a cookie sheet or in an oven-proof skillet.
2. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 35 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.