Since my last Irish post had more of a plain, unsweetened bread recipe, I thought I’d share my recipe for the sweetened cake/bread that we in America are more familiar with as Irish Soda Bread. As I mentioned in the last post, I did a bit of research on traditional Irish soda bread this year. To sum up some of what I learned: in Ireland, bread with raisins is called Spotted Dog, and breads with raisins and/or eggs is considered a cake.
I’ve been changing and adding things to this recipe for the last few years, and it finally seems to be the ideal Irish soda bread for me. It’s slightly sweet, dried fruit in almost every bite, a nice, thin crunchy crust on the outside, and a soft cake- like center.
I’m not a big fan of caraway seeds, and didn’t use them here, but if you like them, throw ‘em on in with the raisins (about 2 Tbsp.)
Irish Soda Bread (Spotted Dog): Makes a 12 inch round loaf
What You’ll Need:
+ 3 cups flour
+ 4 Tablespoons sugar
+ 1 Tablespoon baking powder
+ 1 teaspoon baking soda
+ 1/2 teaspoon salt
+ 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
+ 1 cup raisins
+ 1 cup buttermilk
+ 1 egg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add 3 cups flour to a medium bowl. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to flour. Stir to combine.
Cut in butter with a pasty blender or a fork until it blends in nicely.
Add in raisins (and optional caraway seeds). I used a mix of golden and regular raisins this time because I had both, and why not! You can really use any kind of dried fruit you want. Mix it up!
In a small seperate bowl, crack the egg into the milk and whisk.
(Note: If you’re like me and rarely ever buy buttermilk, you can easily make your own by combining 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for a few minutes before combining with other ingredients. )
Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients. Combine until it forms a nice dough. (Should be a little sticky, but not to the point where you can’t handle it without getting a gooey mess on your hands).
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead with the palm of your hands a few times.
Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper (the “grease” helps the paper stick). Form into a flat round, about 1 1/2 inches thick and 12 inches in diameter. Cut a cross in the top.
Stick in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350, and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Now here’s where the parchment paper comes in. It allows you to lift the bread up off of the pan and onto the cooling rack without worrying about it breaking or crumbling. Cool about 15 minutes. This bread is best served warm!
Smooth on some butter, jelly, honey, or eat is just the way it is!
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