My Grandma wasn’t a fancy cook. On the other hand, the recipes that she passed down to me are ones that I reach for time and time again. They are tried, true and most importantly, good. Her pancakes, her biscuits and of course her Irish Soda Bread (because, well that’s what today’s post is about), are ones I’m sure my daughters will use when they leave home. I’m a creative girl, but there are just some things one doesn’t mess with. Grandma’s recipes are such things.
Irish Soda Bread
This is another recipe passed down through the women in my family. I’ve used dried apricots or raisins in place of the currants (my only nod to my inner creative). I’ll also change it by leaving out the caraway seeds which is how my children prefer it.
The recipe calls for sour milk, which we now mostly call buttermilk, but in honor of my Grandma, I’ve left the orginal language. To actually make sour milk, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the 1 3/4 cup of milk and let sit for 1 to 5 minutes to curdle. Then add to recipe as instructed.
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 cup currants
1 1/2 cups sour milk, plus 2 tablespoons – extra if needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Mix in the sugar, caraway seeds and currants. Make a well in the center of the flour and stir in the milk with your hands until a ball forms. If there are still little bits of flour that are not incorporated, add a little bit more milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a complete ball.
Turn onto floured board and knead until smooth (about 5-10 turns). Cut the dough in half and shape into two 6″ round loaves. Place the loaves on a cookie pan. Make two cuts on top of the loaves in the shape of a cross. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top and bottoms are golden brown and a long toothpick or fork comes clean when inserted into the center of a loaf.
Cool before slicing.
Makes 2 loaves
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!