Transfer the dough to your prepared baking pan and shape into a mounded round loaf.
If you have a cast iron pan, use it. If you won't use cake pans (particularly if you are making two loaves. Whichever pan you use, generously butter the pan and line the bottom withe parchment paper. Many Irish Soda Breads are baked at a high heat (i.e., 400 degrees (F) or higher. This Soda Bread is baked in 350 degree (F) oven, which may contribute to a moister bread. The single loaf will bake in approximately 70-80 minutes while the smaller loaves will bake in 50-53 minutes.
Although I was initially reluctant to use both raisins and caraway seeds, but I can't imagine making this soda bread using only or the other or omitting them completely. The sweetness of the moist bread with its' crunchy exterior combined with the sweet/savory contrast of the raisins and caraway seeds makes this Irish Soda Bread mouth-watering delicious. While it may not be a technically traditional Irish Soda Bread, it is one definitely worthy of being made well after St. Patrick's Day.
Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway (slight adaptation to the Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway as shared by Bon Appetit, October 2002)
5 cups (625 grams) of all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 slightly rounded teaspoon (8 grams) baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, grated
2 1/2 cups dark raisins
3 Tablespoons caraway seeds
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
Best quality Irish butter for serving
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Generously butter one large 12 inch cast iron pan or two 9"/10" cast iron or cake pans. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and lightly butter.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.
3. Add grated butter. Using your fingertips, rub in butter until coarse crumbs form.
4. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.
5. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in a medium bowl to blend. Add to dough. Using a wooden spoon, stir until well incorporated (dough will be sticky). Flour your hands and lightly knead the dough in the bowl.
6. Transfer dough to prepared pans. Smooth top, mounding slightly in the center. Using a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut a 1 inch deep cross into top center of the dough.
7. Bake until bread is cooked through and tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the bread. For a single loaf, baking time will be approximately 70-80 minutes, for two loaves baking time will be 50-53 minutes.
8. Allow bread to cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to col completely.
9. Cut into slices and serve with (Irish) butter.
10. Wrap bread tightly with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature. The bread is best on the day it is baked and for one additional day.
Notes: (1) I measured the dry ingredients on a digital scale. If you decide to use both all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour, measuring on a scale is critical as the wheat flour has a greater density, weighing less (120 grams per cup) than all-purpose flour. (2) Make sure to make a deep cross into your dough before putting in the oven. Not only will be this ensure the fairies are let out, your finished loaf will have a beautiful, rustic look to it. (3) I used Kerrygold Irish butter for the dough and for serving.