Watch it rise

Rachel Westlund’s Irish soda bread

Photo By Teri Dubose

5 cups sifted flour
1 cup sugar (or less)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 cups of white raisins, washed and dried (play around, use cran-raisins, black raisins, any small bits of dried fruit)
3 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg slightly beaten

Put all dry ingredients in a bowl, then slowly but thoroughly blend in the butter till the final product looks like coarse corn meal. Rachel says do this by hand rather than machine. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds. Blend in buttermilk and egg until mixture is fully moistened. Mixture will appear lumpy. Butter the heck out of two 8” round iron skillets, turn the batter into the iron skillets and bake at 350 degrees for one hour until firm and brown. Once it’s out, Rachel sprinkles granulated sugar crystals across the top, but you can do your own thing. Let cool, then cut…

P.S. Hand stir by dipping and raising the batter into and out of the bowl. Remember, it’s the soda that’s making the bread rise.