It’s on Saturday. The day of all days. The day you better wear green or I’ll be horribly offended. If you don’t want to do the entire St. Patty’s Day meal (which the Irish rarely eat, by the way), at least make some soda bread. My favorite recipe is below. Without fail, the bread comes out of the oven beautifully. Remember to tap on the bottom of the loaf and listen for the “hollow” sound. And not to brag, but one year we slathered our bread with homemade butter. Oh. My. Gosh. I’ve never been the same. Luck ‘o the Irish to you.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 cup raisins
1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and flour a large baking sheet, knocking off excess flour.

Sift together 4 cups flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and stir in sugar, caraway, and raisins. Add buttermilk and stir just until dough is evenly moistened but still lumpy.

Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and gently knead with floured hands about 8 times to form a soft but slightly less sticky dough. Halve dough and form into 2 balls. Pat out each ball into a domed 6-inch round on baking sheet. Cut a 1/2-inch-deep X on top of each loaf with a sharp knife, then brush loaves with butter.

Bake in middle of oven until golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer loaves to racks to cool completely.

Makes 2 (6-inch) loaves

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