M2’s Soda Bread

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (see note)

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ cup sugar

1½ cups dried currants

1¾ cups buttermilk, room temperature

2 large eggs, well beaten, room temperature

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and set aside. Smear another 2 tablespoons butter over bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Cut a piece of wax paper to fit the bottom and coat lightly with cooking spray.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and sugar into a large bowl. Add currants and toss well, set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Add to dry ingredients and mix just until ingredients are well combined. Spoon batter into skillet. Dot top with 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces, sprinkle with sugar and make a cross in the top with your finger. Bake 60 minutes. Cool in skillet 15 minutes. Best served warm with butter and a cup of tea.

Serves 12.

Cook’s notes: Kerrygold Irish butter recommended. This also can be baked in two, 8-inch loaf pans. Reduce baking time to about 45 minutes.

  Margaret Mary Eklund has been making her family’s Irish soda bread recipe for decades and shares it with friends and family on St. Patrick’s Day. Laura Stoecker/
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