Prep: Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment or a silicone mat. Lightly flour.
Combine dry ingredients: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Add butter: Cut cold butter into ry ingredients until mixture resembles sand.
Add raisins and wet ingredients: Stir raisins into flour mixture. Whisk egg and buttermilk together in a separate measuring jug. Pour over flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined.
Shape bread: Tip dough on a lightly floured work surface, knead 2-3 times (do not overwork!), then shape into a ball. Place bread on the prepared baking sheet. Slice crosswise, deeply, almost cutting through the entire bread.
Bake bread: Bake 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bread is golden-brown. Cool on a cooling rack.
Buttermilk: This recipe absolutely needs the acidity from the buttermilk. If you don't have any, you can either use ¼ cup plain yogurt and ½ cup regular milk, or ¾ cup regular milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar stirred in.
Butter: It's important to use butter cold from the fridge for the recipe to work correctly. Margarine can be used in place of the butter, but it must be stick margarine. A spread will not work.
Raisins: I sometimes use dried cranberries in place of the raisin, or chopped dried apricots. Both taste delicious and are a nice variation!
Baking powder and baking soda: Please use the amounts of baking powder and baking soda the recipe calls for. This is the only leavening in the bread, and it's important to use both baking powder and baking soda for the bread to come out correctly.
The most important parts of any traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe are definitely to not overwork the dough,
and to make those cross-cuts deep enough. Don't worry about cutting the bread apart entirely! It's actually worse to cut into the bread too little, so make sure you do almost cut it apart. This is so the dense dough can cook all the way in the middle.
And finally... Definitely try a slice while the bread is still a bit warm 😉🍀
Soda bread is definitely best eating shortly after it comes out of the oven, at least on the same day it is baked.If you have leftovers, keep them wrapped in a clean kitchen towel on the counter for up to an additional day.