I have made this quick bread for many years. This recipe card is written in my teenage handwriting. It is well documented that this is Irish Bread. See Exhibit A. Not Irish Soda Bread. Can we agree that it’s a quick bread and that it’s delicious? Good.
This recipe defies all baking’s measuring and mixing logic. On the back of the card there is no “cream butter and sugar, adding eggs one at a time…” So every time I make this, I try to remember how I made it decades ago. The answer is the same every time. It doesn’t matter. I just dump everything into a bowl and mix it. I’m glad we got that out of the way.
The measuring is a bit suspicious. Put the eggs in a measuring cup and and add milk to the one cup line. How is that possible? Aren’t eggs different sizes? Do you scramble the eggs first? What sense does this make? It just works. I do not scramble the eggs. I just break them into a pyrex measuring cup and add milk. Ta. Da.
I have added to my repretoire the use of parchment paper to line the pan. I’ve had too many breads stick to the pan bottom and tear apart. I cut the parchment to the right width and use metal clips on the long sides of the pan to prevent overhang paper folding into the bread. I’ve had that happen way too many times.
Along the way I discovered sparkling sugar. It does not melt. It is great to sprinkle on top of muffins, cookies, cakes. It zhuzhes up baked goods. There are other sugars you can use but I prefer white sparkling sugar. It adds some crunch and shine!
Before we start baking, let’s do some prep work. I like to plump up my raisins by soaking them in warm tap water for a few minutes. I use a mesh strainer to drain the water from the raisins. The recipe calls for melted butter. I like to melt it on the stove and let it cool. You don’t want to add hot butter into the batter. Once you have those tasks completed you can start with the rest of the measuring.
Shall we bake some quick bread?
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup raisins
1 tbsp caraway seeds (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare loaf pan with nonstick spray and parchment paper. Soak raisins in warm water to soften. Then drain water before using.
Crack two eggs into a measuring cup. Do not scramble them. Pour milk on top of the eggs up to the one cup mark.
In a mixing bowl, place all of the dry ingredients, except the raisins and caraway seeds. Pour into the bowl the cooled butter and milk/egg mixture. Using a mixer, mix until all ingredients are well blended. It will be a thick batter. With a spatula add in raisins and caraway seeds. Pour into prepared loaf/bread pan. Sprinkle the top with sparkling sugar
Bake for 45 minutes to one hour at 350 degrees. I start checking on the bread at 45 minutes. I turn the bread in the oven so it bakes evenly. It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden. Place pan on cooling rack.
Let the bread cool for about 10 minutes before you remove from pan. This bread is best the day it is made but is still great the next day. I strongly suggest a smidge of butter on the warm bread. It’s amazing. Store at room temperature.