Healthy Irish Soda Bread


I grew up on my grandmother’s traditional Irish soda bread complete with caraway seeds and raisins (made with white flour, of course).  I can still picture her kneading the dough on the kitchen table with the palm of her hand, pressing it down over and over until it was the perfect shape.  It always came out slightly golden, begging to be served with a generous helping of butter and enjoyed with a piping hot cup of tea.  I suppose I never attempted to try it myself because her “recipe” couldn’t be duplicated (I’m not sure she would have been able to even provide me with the correct measurements because it was all from the top of her head).  But, this year, my kids specifically requested a homemade version versus the one I usually buy at the bakery so I decided to finally give it a try.  Since I love soda bread and knew if it was sitting on my kitchen counter, I would be tempted to inhale it piece by piece, I opted for a healthy interpretation.  I based it on this recipe but made a few tweaks by adding one teaspoon of orange zest, two tablespoons of ground flax seed and substituting black raisins for golden ones (I think they’re a bit plumper).   My husband was initially hesitant when he saw that I had used whole wheat flour but once he tasted this revised rendition, both he and the kids were pleasantly surprised.