My Italian mother made this bread
every St Patrick's Day for my
Scotch/Irish father. It was delicious then and now. It takes some time to make but it is delicious
Irish-American Soda Bread with Currants and Orange Zest
1 lb (3 cups) all-purpose flour, plus 1 tbsp
5 oz (1 cup) whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced
2 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Finely grated zest of 1 med orange
1 cup dried currants or raisins
Position the rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 375F. Generously butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with 2- to 2 1/2-inch-high sides (you can also bake it on a baking sheet, but it will flatten more).
In a bowl, whisk together the 3 cups of all-purpose flour, wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Sprinkle the butter over the top and cut in with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.
In another bowl or container, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest. Add to the dough, stirring with a wooden spoon just until well incorporated. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and stir into the dough. It will be sticky.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf into the prepared skillet and cut an "X" into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan and let cool on the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with plenty of unsalted butter. (Though I hear some people eat this with cream cheese).