Every St. Paddy's Day I featured our Corned Beef & Cabbage Shepherd's Pie, an original creation that was wildly popular. It sold out every year, with customer's calling as soon as they received the "Daily Dish" email that announced the daily specials, placing their advance order! This beloved soda bread is the best I've tasted, and it was the accompaniment to the special. Make this soda bread to enjoy with your corned beef and cabbage, and you will discover why it was such a favorite! (The recipe for the Shepherd's Pie is in the upcoming cookbook)
Irish Soda Bread
5 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces butter (1 stick) -- cold
2 1/2 cups raisins, light and dark -- soaked in water for 15-20 minutes, drained
3 Tablespoons caraway seed
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg -- slightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Generously butter or spray 2-9 X 5-inch bread pans.
Stir together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in the butter and mix very thoroughly, finish by rubbing mixture between your (cool) hands until it gets grainy. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.
Combine the buttermilk and egg and add to the flour mixture. Stir until well-moistened, but do not over-mix. Divide into two equal parts, shape into loaves, and place in prepared pans.
Bake for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick for doneness (toothpick comes out clean). Cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool.