Guest Blog – Irish Soda Bread

Posted on March 19, 2012. Filed under: Brunch, Side Dish | Tags: , , , , , , |

I’m back to my guest-blogging ways for a quick entry in honor of St. Patty’s day.  Wanting to make something traditional but not have it impede on my sitting-around-drinking time, I set out the morning of March 17th to find an Irish recipe.  The idea of making corned beef and cabbage did not appeal to me, and it really seemed that the majority of returns from searching the interweb were big stews and shepherd’s pies.  Well, it was 75 degrees that day, so I decided to try a simple recipe complementing our March heat wave:  Irish Soda Bread.

This recipe hails from… although I needed to make a few adjustments:

The Stuff:
4 ½ c. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 tbsp. butter
1 c. currants or raisins
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 ¾ c. buttermilk

Other than the currants and buttermilk, all of this was in the pantry so that was an easy start.  I did stare at the raisins and currents for a loooong time in the store trying to figure out what the heck is the difference (spoiler:  currants are much smaller, maybe taste a little better?).

The Process:

First I heated the oven to 425.  Then I sifted together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda).  After this comes the part of baking that I hate quite possibly the most- “cutting” cold butter into dough until it forms a coarse meal.  I don’t have a pastry cutter, so this involved me slashing through the mix with two knives, essentially until I get bored and/or tired.  For me this was about 5 minutes, and then the currants went into the mix.

After this I added the egg and buttermilk and mixed lightly until a very sticky dough formed.  I was told not to over-knead, so I put it on a work surface and just worked it enough to form a round loaf.  Then I lightly buttered a baking sheet and put the dough in the middle.  I took a knife and scored 2” down into the loaf making an ‘X’ mark.  This is a very important step because you need to get the heat down into the center of the dough or it will not cook all the way through.

After scoring, I placed the dough in the oven, it took about 45-50 min. to bake completely, and I found a great activity to do in the meantime…

After baking, the loaf was nice and golden brown and made that slightly ‘hollow’ sound when I tapped it.  Honestly I think it was still a bit doughy in the middle, but I wasn’t so concerned.

I made myself what I called the Irish breakfast of champions that morning with some of this soda bread, and it was really quite good.  Happy St. Patty’s day everyone!


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