The traditional Irish Soda Bread is a plain loaf, basically just a big biscuit/scone. The traditional Irish-American Soda Bread has a bit more going on, usually in the form of raisins, caraway seeds, and added sugar. Now, I like the idea of the Americanized version, but I can’t stand caraway seeds, so I developed this modified version.
Both of my grandmothers were the children of immigrants — from Ireland on my mom’s side, and from Italy on my dad’s — so when I was looking for alternate ways to flavor my bread, I decided to try anise seeds. It worked better than I expected, and now this is the version I make for Saint Patrick’s Day every year.
Makes one loaf
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 Tb butter
1/2 cup raisins or currants
2 Tb anise seeds
1 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Combine dry ingredients and cut in butter (processor, knives, fingertips, whatever).
3. Add the currants and anise seeds.
3. Mix buttermilk and egg and add to flour/butter mixture.
4. Knead briefly, turn onto a baking sheet, and shape into a dome around seven inches across.
5. Slash a deep X across the top of the loaf.
6. Bake at 350° for 60-70 min (until it sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom).