The cross or X on Irish soda bread has several theories; many feel it is the symbol of the cross and is used during Christian holidays. Legend has it that it is to ward off evil spirits and protect the home. Others feel it is simply a way to score it so that the bread can easily be divided into four pieces. Whatever your view, this is a delicious quick bread with a “sweet” accent of orange zest and currants.
- 2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 cups organic white flour (you can use all whole wheat pastry flour if you desire)
- 2 tablespoons organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup organic butter, cut into ½ chunks
- 1 ¾ cup organic buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup currants
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse meal. You can also mix this in your electric mixer with the paddle attachment.
- In a small bowl lightly beat together the buttermilk and egg.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, mix just until blended.
- Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon flour and the 2 teaspoons orange zest and mix into the dough.
- Dump the dough out onto a very well-floured board; it will be very “wet”. Pat into a round loaf and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. You can test the bread with a toothpick; it will come out clean when the bread is done.
- This makes a large round loaf; you can also divide the batter to make two nice sized rounds.