Growing up, I thought Irish soda bread was made with diet coke. It wasn’t until later in life when I realized it earned its name from baking soda, which helps it rise quickly.
Made of only a few simple ingredients, this slightly sweet biscuit-like loaf is very easy to make. Next time, I would like to experiment with currants, dried cherries or even chocolate chips instead of the traditional raisins, but stuck with the basics on my first attempt.
I whipped this up for my husband’s family last weekend when we visited them in Rochester, NY. Since I never show up anywhere empty handed, it felt appropriate to bake his grandmother one of her favorites this time of year. I sure hope it brings her some luck of the Irish!
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups low fat buttermilk
1 cup raisins (optional, but who can resist?)
Make a well in the center and add 1 cup of the buttermilk, reserving 1/2 cup.
Combine dry ingredients and buttermilk with a fork, gradually adding more of the remaining liquid until a soft dough is formed.
Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface for 1 minute. Form into a slightly flattened circle.
Mark a large 1/2-inch deep X with a sharp knife and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Eat and enjoy with some festive green beer!