Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Rising of the Bread

Here's a do-over from previous time on a previous blog, because every year someone asks for it.
Mom really had to struggle to get an actual recipe for this from Grammie, Dad's mom, as she never measured anything.
  • How much flour? Enough
  • How about the raisins? Probably a handful. At least a handful.
  • How much buttermilk? Not too much
  • How long does it bake? Until it's brown, about an hour.

Mom's made hundreds of loaves since then, but this recipe started with a handful of this, a pinch of that from Dad's mom, Julie Justice.

Some Irish bread recipes posted in newspapers this time of year include caraway seeds. I read one in our local paper today that had orange zest !! What ARE these people THINKING? For one thing, oranges were very dear in Ireland when my dad was growing up. It was a very good Christmas if everyone got an orange in their stocking. And this is not rye bread. This is a peasant bread without extra seasonings or spices or seeds. Period.

Anyway, this is our family recipe and you're welcome to it.

4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil or butter
2/3-1 cup raisins / saltanas
1-1.5 cups buttermilk

  1. The vegetable oil used to be butter, but using oil makes for easier mixing.
  2. There is also some version of this with yogurt instead of buttermilk, but the taste is obviously different.
  3. Some people maintain that the raisins are optional. I am not one of them.
  4. Saltanas is the common Irish name for golden raisins.
  5. Some people think it is better toasted. I am not one of them, either.
Preheat oven to 375. Mix dry ingredients well, plus the raisins if you believe in them. I do. In separate small bowl, whisk oil into buttermilk. Pour mixture into dry ingredients, and mix well. Dough will be stiff and sticky. Turn dough out onto well-floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Shape into a flat round loaf about 1.5 inches thick. Sprinkle with flour. You may want to push in raisins that have migrated to surface. Cut an "X" on top with sharp knife. Bake on cookie sheet for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on rack. Cut into thick slices and serve with butter.

Enjoy and remember how you wish you could be Irish all year round.

Julia Harrington Justice 1908-1998

Emmett and Joyce Justice
Married 51 years and 4 days

Special love to the Rake of Mallow on your Special Day.
Love, Emmett's Daughter

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