ST. LOUIS —
IRISH SODA BREAD
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2/3 cup raisins
¾ cup buttermilk*
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sparkling sugar or 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Slice cold butter into ½-inch cubes and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender for several minutes until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
Stir in raisins and buttermilk, mixing just until the flour is incorporated. Do not overmix. If the dough is too dry, stir in additional buttermilk, 1 teaspoon at a time.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead several times until the bread’s surface is smooth. Shape the dough into a round loaf and pat it with your fingertips until it is 1 ½-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a greased 9-inch round cake pan. With a sharp knife, cut the traditional cross ½-inch deep through the center of the dough.
Brush the top with melted butter, sprinkle with sparkling sugar, and bake 30 to 40 minutes until the bread is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve the bread warm or at room temperature.
*When baking at high altitude, add 1 extra tablespoon of buttermilk.
Yield: 1 loaf