Irish Soda Bread
This Americanized version from Cook's Illustrated has a softer crumb and more flavor. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day meal.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for work surface
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 5 Tbs. unsalted butter softened, (4 T. softened + 1 Tbs. melted)
- 1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 Tbs. caraway seeds optional
- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl. Work softened butter into dry ingredients with fork or fingertips until texture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add buttermilk, egg, raisins, and optional caraway seed and stir with a fork just until dough begins to come together. Turn out onto flour-coated work surface; knead until dough just becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until dough is smooth, or bread will be tough.)
- Pat dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet or in cast-iron pot, if using. Place the loaf on a cookie sheet and cut a cross shape into the top.
- Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into center of loaf comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 170 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes, covering bread with aluminum foil if it is browning too much. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter; cool to room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes.