I don't know why I do not make this bread more often, but I don't think about it until it's St. Patrick's Day and I see similar breads being sold in bakeries and groceries around town. I would rate it zero on the scale of difficulty. It mixes up quickly, makes a beautiful loaf and is excellent the next morning, thinly sliced, toasted and slathered in butter. The recipe makes two loaves. Wrap one up and freeze for later. One suggestion I have before placing the loaves in the oven to bake is to take a wooden toothpick or sharp paring knife and tuck any exposed raisins into the dough. The bread bakes for 75 minutes and any unprotected raisins will end up burning and tasting very bitter. Also, I still had about 20 minutes of baking time left yesterday when I covered the loaves with foil to prevent over browning.
IRISH SODA BREAD
4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon soda
7 cups unbleached flour
2 cups raisins
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1. Combine buttermilk, eggs and soda in a bowl; beat well and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients. Stir in buttermilk mixture.
2. Spoon batter into two greased and floured loaf pans. Push any exposed raisins back into the dough. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for one hour and fifteen minutes. Cover with foil during baking if browning too quickly. Let bread cool in pans for fifteen minutes before turning out on a rack to finish cooling.