Grandma Nell's Soda Bread3 1/2 cups sifted flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cups seeded raisins (I like to mix the dark and light together.  I also soak them in warm water for a few minutes as it plumps them up.)

1 Tbs. caraway seeds (optional; I don’t use caraway unless I know the person getting it likes them.)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I may add a little extra if the batter looks too dry after mixing.)

2 Tbs. melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together into a large mixing bowl, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda.  Stir in raisins and caraway seeds (optional).  Beat eggs, then add buttermilk and butter, mix together.  Add to dry ingredients and mix lightly.  (If you like your soda bread a little moister, you can add a small amount of buttermilk here).

Pour mixture into a well-greased cast iron skillet.  Before putting it in the oven, take a knife and make the sign of the cross on the top of the bread.  I was told it was to bless those who ate it.  It might just be a family tradition.  Bake for 1 hour.

(Tie a green bow around the bread and give to a favorite lad or lassie.)

While you’re here, you might want to read about Pittsburgh’s Irish Heritage.