This story first ran on TAPinto East Brunswick.

Okay, I'll admit it. I grew up hating Irish soda bread. Too dry. Not good toasted. Weird shape. People brought it to my house every St. Patrick's Day, and I graciously accepted it and tried to palm it off on my guests. I made sure that everyone had some to take home. Oy, such a generous hostess!

I finally learned to make it myself, to my own liking. I started with my friend Helen’s mother’s recipe. Helen’s mom was born in Ireland and made the only edible bread I ever had. I’ve worked on it over the years, and now I’m pretty proud of it.

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Remember that Irish soda bread is best when eaten with unsalted butter and a generous serving of strawberry jam or Irish marmalade. Now that, partnered with a strong cup of red Irish tea, is a wonderful thing. 

This makes a large round, low-rising loaf. This year, I am keeping some for myself after the party!

Outstanding Irish Soda Bread:

3 1/2 cups flour, sifted or whisked

2/3 cup sugar

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

½ cup raisins

½ cup golden raisins (sultanas)

½ cup currants

3 Tbs. caraway seeds (optional but delicious)

2 large eggs, beaten

2 cups buttermilk

2 Tbs. unsalted butter (melted, cooled)

Pre-heat oven to 325°F.

Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix in raisins and currants. Mix in caraway seeds, if desired.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk and butter.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Do not over-mix!

Place in the middle of a jellyroll pan or other baking sheet with sides. Bake for about one hour or until toothpick inserted into center of bread comes out clean.

Remove from the pan and cool immediately. When it's cool, cut the loaf into four quarters and then into slices.

Impress yourself! Show off! Learn to like something today!

Got a story you'd like to see on NJ Flavor? Email Jackie Lieberman at jlieberman@tapinto.net.

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