I've been to Ireland several times and never had anything resembling what we in the States commonly call Irish Soda Bread. We did enjoy hearty brown soda bread everywhere we went -- with no raisins, no caraway seeds and, I'm guessing, no sugar. It's wonderful -- even more so slathered with that amazing Irish butter. So maybe this recipe should be called Irish-American Soda Bread.
Pinch of salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons caraway seeds, plus more for garnish (optional)
1.5 cups plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk or sour milk (divided use; see note)
1 cup or more raisins (mix of golden and dark)
To make sour milk: Add 2 tablespoons white vinegar to glass measuring cup. Add milk to 2-cup line. Let rest for at least 5 minutes. Stir to combine. Recipe uses 1.5 cups. Save remaining sour milk to brush bread (you will not use all).
To make the bread: Combine dry ingredients (including caraway seeds) in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Add 1.5 cups plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk or sour milk; mix gently, scraping down sides of bowl, until just combined. Do not over mix. Toss raisins in a small amount of flour (they should be lightly dusted) and fold the raisins into bread dough.
Bake on middle rack in oven for 45-55 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. All ovens are different; to check for doneness insert cake tester or toothpick in center of loaf. It should come out mostly clean. The bread will be brown on the outside and pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool bread in pan for about 15 minutes. Run a thin spatula around the edges and turn bread out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes one large loaf.
Note: If you have extra dough, grease a custard cup and use dough to make a mini bread round. Check for doneness at 20 minutes.