Irish soda bread is a staple in my house during the month of March. My Grandma Benford made it every year for my family when I was a child. She got the Irish soda bread recipe from her Irish mother-in-law, tweaking it very slightly over the years. If you’ve ever tasted soda bread then you know it has a very dry, scone like, texture. Well, trust me when I tell you this is the exact opposite. The texture for my recipe is very cake-like. Grandma always said her secret was soaking her raisins overnight in a bowl of water. Serve it with butter and a cup of strong tea for the complete Irish experience.
(Pre-soak Sun Maid Raisins Overnight in Bowl of Water)
1 Cup Sugar
¾ Cup Shortening
2 Cups Buttermilk
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Salt
5 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups of Raisins (Drained from Water)
3 Tablespoons Caraway Seeds
Bake @ 350 degrees for one hour and a half. Do the toothpick or knife test – it either item comes our clean, your bread is done. After completion of baking, remove loaf from oven and wrap entire loaf, including pan, in a large, clean, bath towel. Leave until completely cooled. This continues the cooking process and according to Grandma Benford, it was a trick Irish housewives used to warm their towels before they bathed their children.