It was a cold night and we were having beef stew. Irish soda bread is practically required with beef stew. It is easy to make and there is no yeast or waiting for it to rise. The soda and buttermilk work together to make the bread rise. I baked it in a cast iron pan, but you can use a baking sheet.
Irish Soda Bread with Currants
1/3 to 1 cup dried currants. I used 1/3 but it could have used more.
2 Tablespoons hot water
4 cups flour, plus some for the counter top
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tablespoons butter, chopped
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 Tablespoons butter
Heat the oven to 425°.
Place the currants in a small bowl. Add the hot water and let them soak while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
Place the flour, sugar, salt and soda in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender to mix in the chopped butter. Use a fork to remove the currants from the liquid and add them to the flour mixture.
Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk. Break an egg in the measuring cup for the buttermilk and whip it around with a fork. Add that to the buttermilk.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Don't over mix. Sprinkle some flour on your very clean counter and scrape the dough out on top of it. Knead for two or three times to mix everything together. You don't want to overwork it or it will be tough.
Place 2 Tablespoons butter in a large cast iron pan and place in the heated oven to melt.
Shape the bread into a circle. Check the cast iron pan. When the butter has melted, remove the pan and carefully place the circle of dough in the HOT pan. Cut an X in the top of the dough.
Return the cast iron pan to the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack for ten minutes until slicing.
Serve warm and with butter. OK, the butter is optional.
This bread is better the day it is baked.
And those are not my hands. Travis made the bread and I took the pictures.