Every year for as long as I can remember, my father has baked Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day. He uses his mother's recipe, though his mother supposedly obtained it from her cousin from Ireland. We still have the version of the recipe that my grandmother had typed on her typewriter. The best part is the ever-so-Catholic instruction to "cut a deep cross with a large knife through the dough" before putting it in the oven. We still don't know whether this serves any purpose, because we haven't ever had the heart not to do it. 

It may look like your average loaf of raisin bread, but boy is it delicious. It is dense yet extraordinarily moist, and best of all, so easy to make. I recommend freezing it to maintain the freshness; all you have to do is throw a slice (or two or three, in my case) in the toaster, butter it, and you've got yourself the perfect breakfast!

Irish Soda Bread

5 cups plain white flour

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp caraway seeds

1 1/2 cups raisins

2 1/4 cups cultured buttermilk

2-3 Tbsp regular milk

Melted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 190ยฐC
  2. Soak raisins in cold water
  3. Spread melted butter on bottom and sides of a 8-10" cast-iron frying pan
  4. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix with wooden spoon
  5. Add caraway seeds and drained raisins to flour mix
  6. Gradually add buttermilk, mix, and pour into frying pan
  7. Brush 2-3 Tbsp regular milk on top of the dough and cut a deep cross with a large knife through the dough
  8. Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean