My great aunt Bridgie came over from Ireland as a young girl. She was my Dad’s aunt and loved to baby sit for us. She’d always make cookies and let us help, but by far her most special recipe was her Irish bread. Every Christmas Aunt Bridgie would make over twenty loaves for holiday gifts. Our family would look forward to the familiar round loaves wrapped in tin foil with a big red bow on the top. We’d slice the bread thin for toasting and then slather lots of butter that dribbled down our chins. Not healthy I know, but oh so delicious. And then on Christmas Day for the after Christmas meal, we’d slice Aunt Bridgie’s Irish bread into thick slices. We’d pile on turkey slices, cranberry sauce and sometimes some gravy for the best sandwiches ever. The Irish bread seemed to vanish too quickly and then it would be gone till the next Christmas. Aunt Bridgie cooked her Irish breads for the Christmas holiday till she was in her mid-nineties. Then one Christmas Aunt Bridgie gave each of us her recipe to follow. Aunt Bridgie compliments each of us when she tastes our efforts. Though the special Aunt Bridgie touch isn’t there, the love and heritage is for our family. I hope your family enjoys the recipe for this Irish bread. Today I use a tube or Bundt ring pan for my bread. This way I know the center is done.
3 cups of flour (sifted)
2/3 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of currants
2 tablespoons of melted shortening
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 to 2 cups of buttermilk
2 eggs (beaten)
1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your baking pan. I use either shortening or butter to grease the pan. Baking sprays don’t seem to work as well with this recipe.
In a small saucepan add 1 cup of water and the currants. Bring the water to just about boiling. Then remove from heat and drain the excess water. Set the currants aside. This step keeps the currants from popping up out of the bread and burning.
Sift the flour before using. You want the flour to be loose and fluffy. Then add the baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt to the flour and sift once more. (I admit I’ve skipped this step at times when I’m in a rush.)
Add the raisins and caraway seeds to the flour mixture. Gently fold the raisins and caraway seeds into the flour mix.
In a separate bowl using a fork or wisk beat two eggs till light. Add the buttermilk to the egg mixture. Then slowly add the melted shortening to the mixture. Adding the hot shortening to the mixture too fast will result in cooked eggs.
Now add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until flour is moistened. Turn batter into the greased and floured pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately remove the bread from the pan. I cool the bread on a wire baking rack. When the bread is cool wrap in foil to prevent the bread from drying out.