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Eating Corned Beef, Cabbage and Soda Bread on St. Patrick’s Day was not a tradition in my family. So, when I wanted to try my hand at Soda Bread, I asked my mother in law, Maria, for her recipe. She referred me to The New Basics Cookbook on her bookshelf, and I flipped through to find Grandma Clark’s Soda Bread Recipe.
Tucked in the pages were three more variations of Soda Bread she had clipped from the San Diego Union Tribune, yellowed, worn and marked with her own substitutions.
There were minor differences between the four recipes; Maria indicated her favorite, which I used as my guide.
One of the clippings mentioned whole wheat flour, which I incorporated. All of the recipes indicated baking in a cast iron skillet, which I’m quite sure Maria doesn’t own.
When I returned home to my kitchen I got to work, and the following recipe is what I came up with.
From what I’ve read, this is actually more of a cake, but I’d compare the method, texture and sweet taste to a giant scone.
Ingredients for Soda Bread 2011:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 – 1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, cold
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup golden raisins
Notes: I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet for baking. A ten inch would work just as well and produce a taller loaf. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, use a greased baking sheet or cake pan. You may choose to use regular raisins or currants in place of the golden raisins. Serves 6-8.
1. Preheat oven to 400(F).
2. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Cut butter into pieces; using a pastry cutter or your fingers, incorporate the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gently fold in raisins.
4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and combine with buttermilk.
5. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the wet mixture all at once.
6. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold dry mixture into wet mixture. Stir just until combined. Do not over mix. The dough will be sticky and not smooth at all.
7. Using the spatula, mound sticky dough into a greased cast iron skillet. With a knife or the spatula, make an “X” on the top of the dough.
8. Bake in preheated 400(F) oven for 30 minutes. Turn heat down to 375(F) and continue baking another 10 minutes until golden brown or a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. Allow to cool in the cast iron skillet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
10. Best when enjoyed warm and fresh.