WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — It is said that you should love thy neighbors, and I certainly do! The sentiment was solidified about five years ago when a casserole of macaroni & cheese and homemade bread was sent over to my house from my neighbors, The Brotsos, a few days after the birth of my first child. 

Heather Brotsos is a fabulous Irish baker and the kind gesture of sending food over to my house helped to forge a bond that has had us breaking bread ever since.

Five years later, I was browsing the selection of baked goods at a local grocer and I spotted some packages of Irish soda bread. I looked at it and thought, "There's no way this can be better than Heather's!" 

It was close to St. Patrick's Day, so I pulled out my cell phone and made a quirky request for a neighbor, unless your neighbor is a TV host. "Hi, um, can you come on my show and teach the world how to make your Irish soda bread?" She said yes! 

Never mind Heather has never done TV, she showed up in Shamrock earrings and got to baking. The production crew rolled tape and, together, we ate every last bite after the recording. 

If this neighborly tale of fresh-baked goodness has tempted your taste buds, here's the recipe we made on the show:

Heather's Irish Soda Bread Recipe:

Ingredients 

4 cups white flour 

1 tsp. salt 

1 egg 

½ - 1 cup raisins 

½ cup sugar 

2 tsp baking soda 

4 Tbsp melted butter 

1 cup buttermilk 

Directions 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients together. Add raisins, butter and egg. Gradually add the buttermilk, mixing well. Dough should be moist.  

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly a few times. Shape it into a round, flat loaf. Cut a deep cross from side to side.  

Bake on a flat cookie sheet in hot oven 30-40 minutes. 

Best if eaten warm, fresh out the oven!