by Tiffany Ludwig
Another cold snap here in NYC is pushing spring just a little further away. I like to think of it as a reason for warming up the kitchen with some extra goodness.
To get us started I've added some ingredients beyond the basics, beyond traditional Irish soda bread recipes. This one, with vanilla and raisins, is a touch sweet so it actually makes a perfect bread for mornings and brunch. Alternatively, give it a go for your afternoon snack and it'll be a great side for a savory roast or lamb dish.
Irish Soda Bread
by Tiffany Ludwig
Makes 1 loaf
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cup raisins or currants
1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling on top
Use dried cranberries, golden raisins or nuts
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Slice the butter into the mixture using two knives, a pastry cutter (or clean fingers) until it the butter is reduced to pea sized pieces or smaller. I use a food processor for mixing the dry ingredients into the butter and it works great.
In small bowl, lightly whisk the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the liquid mixture and raisins. Mix with a wooden spoon or knead lightly until the dough is stiff; don’t over mix.
Place the dough on a well-floured board and knead it into a round loaf. Don’t try to smooth out the loaf or make it perfectly round. The rough edges are what give Irish Soda Bread its distinctive look, plus overworking the dough will make it tough.
Place the loaf on a sheet pan either lightly greased or lined with parchment paper. Use a serrated knife to score an X across the entire top of the dough, about ½ an inch down. This will allow the center to cool more evenly. Sprinkle the top with 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack until ready to serve. It’s best served warm or at room temperature just after baking.