Irish soda bread is a perfect combination of savory and sweet!
This bread is called a "quick" bread, as it does not require yeast that needs to proof for hours.
The dough rise in this recipe is based on the interaction between the buttermilk and baking soda.
Honestly, this bread usually tastes better on the second day. It can be eaten by itself or topped with butter or jam!
This recipe is inspired by the Grandma's Irish Soda Bread recipe from Sally's Baking Addition blog.
I find that a lot of raisins are too dried out for a bread like this. Make the simple syrup in advance (30 minutes before starting the dough) and soak the raisins in the cooled simple syrup for at least 15 minutes. This time allows the raisins time to soak up the simple syrup and plump up.
Making the buttermilk with almond milk and lemon juice is a perfect substitute for store-bought buttermilk.
Combine the butter into the dry ingredients before adding the raisins to make process easier.
To check that the bread is cooked all the way through, push a toothpick through the thickest part and check that the toothpick comes out clean (no dough/batter).
Another check from "doneness" is picking up the bread and knocking on the bottom... it should sound hollow! (as strange as that sounds)