By IrishAbroad reader Virginia Harrington Hutchison
Going back 30 years, when the only Irish thing being made in America was soda bread, I was asked to make it a lot. Being the youngest of a family of 3 boys and 10 girls only one sister Catherine the oldest used to make soda bread for St Patrick day or a special party.
My mom's version which was always sent out as gifts was made with walnuts raisins and caraway seeds. My Aunt Bridie would come and stay with me for a few days in the the 1990's and she would make it. Bridie was born in Cork 1913. When she got into her 90's I would make it for her. One day while she was visiting at the jersey shore she noticed I was not eating any. I informed her I was allergic to all milk products and could not.
She said but you always make it. I replied I know and I am getting tired of it. One day I told her I was making a new kind along side her making hers but mine was with just water. I remembered that my dad told stories of his mom at Durrow Castle being a cook and only the big house got the cream or butter milk. She would make hers with water and a drop of cream she was able to sneak away with. His dad was a groundskeeper. Well Aunt Bridie was very surprised when the breads came out of the oven to see they looked pretty much the same.
I enjoyed my soda bread for the first time in about 20 years. A few weeks later while making it again I decided to use one cup orange juice and 3/4 cup water. It was moist and really good. The OJ played well with the raisins. That year our family had our after the parade in Belmar party at Rosy's house which included a soda bread contest. I put mine in and won first place. :) Aunt Bridie who had won the year before had to hand that crown over to me.
Grease large loaf pan, set oven at 350 to pre heat.
In one bowl add:
3 cup white flour ( often partially substitute wheat or almond flour)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
Mix dry ingredients.
I use a 2 cup measuring bowl for this part.
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons melted margerine (or butter)
Mix wet ingredients and add to dry.
Pour into a loaf pan which has been greased and floured. Make a cross with a knife to cut the air in the mix.
Oven set on 350°F and bake for one hour. When knife comes out clean it is done. Let cool just a bit then go around the edges with a knife and jiggle, then remove bread from pan.