This bread is very rustic and wholesome. It compliments a fresh pot of Irish Stew or any hearty soup. Most authentic irish soda breads are made with whole wheat flour and contain raisins, however you can change it up to add nuts and spices or go the herb route adding flavours of dill, tarragon, rosemary and thyme. Keeping with tradition, this bread is made with whole wheat flour, raisins and caraway seeds. This was my first time making bread without using a bread machine, and was rather pleased with the results. It also toasted well the next day for morning raisin bread.
1 cup mixed raisins or currants (or all raisins), plumped
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 T organic honey
1 tsp salt
1 T caraway seeds
6 T cold, unsalted butter, diced
1 1/4 cups (add more if needed) buttermilk
1/4 cup Bran and about 4-5 T of oatmeal for dusting the outside (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Double up two baking sheets and line top one with parchment paper.
Prepare raisins by plumping in very hot water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain, dry well and set aside.
Whisk together all dry ingredients. Cut butter into dry ingredients by hand.
Add buttermilk and honey and mix to form a soft dough. Turn out onto floured work surface and gently knead 8 times or so, to firm up dough.
Let rest 10 minutes.
Shape into a 8 inch round. Place on baking sheet. Score loaf with a knife (1/2 inch deep cuts) to make a cross. Dust with white flour, bran, or oatmeal flakes. Bake 35-45 minutes until well-browned.
Cool on a rack for about 10 mins.
This was entered in the BreadBakingDay Event presented by Wild Yeast Blog.