somehow we're halfway through the month of march already and st. patrick's day is tomorrow. i've mentioned before that i'm not irish, so i tend not to celebrate st. patty's day at all. however, last year i got a little bit festive and made irish soda bread scones. we enjoyed them so much that i thought i would make a loaf of irish soda bread this year.
since i'm not irish i don't have an irish grandmother, but if i did this is the type of irish soda bread i imagine she would have made "back in the day." this is classic irish soda bread at its finest made in a cast-iron skillet which gives it a very crusty outside and a tender inside. it's filled with raisins and it's not sweet at all. it's just right.
the best part about this recipe is that it is such a quick and easy bread recipe. there's no yeast, just baking soda (hence the name soda bread) so you don't have to wait around for dough to rise!
rustic cast-iron skillet irish soda bread
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 45-55 minutes
yields: one 10-inch round loaf of bread
adapted from sally's baking addiction
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons cold salted butter, divided
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1 cup raisins
preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. in a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and baking soda. cut 4 tablespoons of the cold butter into small cubes and work the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter (or a fork) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. fold in the raisins. in a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the egg. add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold with a wooden spoon or spatula until all ingredients are incorporated. turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently kneed for a few moments to make sure all of the flour is incorporated and the dough is not too sticky.
place the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet and place the skillet in the oven. let the butter melt for a few minutes then remove the skillet from the oven and evenly spread the melted butter around the bottom and the sides of the skillet. place the dough in the prepared skillet. use a serrated knife to score an x shape in the top of the dough. bake for 45-55 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the bread is cooked throughout. (if the top starts to brown too much, cover with aluminum foil partway though to avoid getting too dark.) once baked, remove from the oven and allow the bread to set in the skillet for 10 minutes before removing it from the skillet and transferring it to a wire cooling rack. serve warm with butter and/or jam.