I found this recipe in a newspaper at least 25 years ago and have made it too many times to count. The reason I was interested in this particular recipe is because it didn't have caraway seeds in it. Now you can find many recipes without it, back then it was harder. Of course, you could always add caraway seeds to this recipe if you want to.
The casserole dish that I bake my Irish Soda Bread in is 34 years old. Yikes! I was living on my own and working in Burlington. One day a truck pulled into the parking lot and was selling all kinds of household items. I bought a huge box of different shape casserole dishes (most of which I still have) and lots of other things. I wish I could remember how much all of that cost. I do know that it was extremely cheap, which was good for me as I was probably making $3 or $4 per hour way back then.
This Irish Soda Bread is phenomenal. I make it many times during the year, not just for St. Patrick's Day. Once you make it, you will probably do the same.
4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups golden raisins
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart, round casserole dish. In a large bowl, mix the first five ingredients. Beat on medium until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins. In a cup, beat eggs slightly; remove one tablespoon and put in a separate cup; reserve. Stir in buttermilk and remaining beaten eggs into flour mixture, just until flour is moistened (dough will be very sticky).
Turn dough onto a well-floured surface. With floured hands, knead 8-10 strokes to mix thoroughly.
Shape dough into a ball. Place in casserole dish; flatten a bit. Cut a 4-inch cross about 1/4-inch deep in the center of the dough. Brush top of dough with reserved egg.
Bake bread 1 hour 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in casserole dish on wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from casserole dish and finish cooling on wire rack.
The easiest way to cut the bread is to cut loaf into quarters. Cut four slices from each quarter. It tastes great warm with butter or margarine and toasted in the toaster or a toaster oven. Delish!!!!