If you've never had Soda Bread, you can think of it along the sames lines as cornbread. The texture is similar and even the taste is somewhat similar although a bit more bland than cornbread.
According to tradition the "X" on the bread represents the cross and scares off evil spirits. This recipe is one handed down from an aunt and is pretty identical to the ones found in the older versions of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. You can use raisins in this recipe if you wish. I opted not to since I'm not a huge raisin fan.
For this recipe, I also did our first video segment! It's a bit rough and I learned a few things while making it that should make future attempts a bit better. In the meantime, enjoy this one and please rate the video on YouTube!
So, Happy St. Patrick's Day or Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!
Irish Soda Bread
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbls. butter, softened
2 tbls. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°. Cut butter into flour. Add sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt and blend with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. (If using raisins, add here.) Add just enough buttermilk so dough leaves sides of bowls and just comes together. Turn out on lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Shape into round loaf about 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on greased cookie sheet and cut "X" in center of loaf about 1/2 inch deep using a floured knife. Brush with beaten egg using pastry brush. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with butter or jam.