This recipe, along with more than 175 others, is explained and illustrated in The Culinary Institute of America's Breakfasts and Brunches cookbook (Lebhar-Friedman 2005), which is available at bookstores nationwide or at www.ciaprochef.com/fbi/books.html.
4 c. cake flour
1 T. baking soda
½ c. sugar
¼ t. salt
¼ c. vegetable shortening
1 c. dark raisins
1 T. caraway seeds
1 c. cold milk
Preheat the oven to 400°. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it lightly with cooking spray or lining it with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, baking soda, sugar and salt together into a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal.
Add the raisins, caraway seeds and milk. Mix the dough until just combined; avoid over-mixing as this will cause the dough to toughen.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press the dough into a ball. Form the dough into two equal loaves, or cut into 16 equal pieces to make rolls. Dust with flour and lightly score an "X" across the top of each roll or loaf with a sharp knife.
Bake the soda bread until it is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 8 to 10 minutes for rolls and 25 minutes for loaves. Wrap the bread in a tea towel directly out of the oven.
Cool the soda bread in the tea towel on a wire rack before serving. It can be held at room temperature for up to two days or frozen for up to four weeks. Makes 2 loaves or 16 rolls.
Nutrition analysis per 2.5-ounce serving: 210 calories, 4g protein, 41g carbohydrate, 4g fat, 520mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol, 1g fiber.