Irish Soda Bread
Ever since soda bread, that staple of the Irish dining table, was invented in the 1800s, it seems there are nearly as many "traditional" recipes as there are Irish families. Some are simple concoctions incorporating little more than flour, baking soda and buttermilk, while others boast the additions of various fruits and spices. This raisin-studded incarnation comes from a former SAVEUR staffer, who learned it the way such dishes should be—from her grandmother.
4 cups flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup raisins
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl.
2. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, work butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, then stir in raisins.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir. Dust hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf.
4. Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about 1/2'' deep in an "X" shape. Transfer to oven and bake until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped with a knife, about 40 minutes. Transfer bread to a rack to let cool briefly. Serve bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted.