Irish Soda Bread

This recipe is from a wonderful vegetarian cookbook called Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons.

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup raisins

4 cups unbleached white flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 T. caraway seeds

1/4 tsp. baking soda

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 T whole, low-fat, or nonfat sour cream, or yogurt

1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk

3/4 cup buttermilk

In a small bowl, cover the raisins with warm water, and let them sit for 15 minutes.  Drain them on a paper towel and pat dry.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, caraway seeds, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and sour cream or yogurt.  Beat in the milk and the buttermilk.  Stir in the raisins.

Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in the egg mixture.  Stir with a really sturdy spoon until the dough comes together.

Put the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface.  Knead very lightly with your palm for a minute until smooth (add a little extra flour if needed).  Form it into a round-sized loaf.  Sprinkle a little flour onto the round and the flatten it with your hands (should be approximately 9 inches in diameter).  Flip it over and pat the sides to make it a little taller (it’ll then be about 8 inches in diameter).

Heat an 8-inch cast iron skillet until it is warm.  Remove the pan from the heat and grease lightly with butter.  Flour the skillet and shake off the excess.  Place the bread right side up in the pan.  Using a sharp knife, make a 1/2 inch cut across the center of the loaf.  Then do the same thing on the opposite side (basically, you’ll have a big cross across the center of the loaf).

Bake the loaf for about 1 hour and 10 minutes at 335 degrees, until it is lightly browned on top.

You can serve the bread warm or cold, with a side of Irish butter.

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