Monday, 16 March 2015

Irish Soda Bread

Ah Spring.  The warmer weather can only mean one thing.

St. Patty's Day!

Now - for those of you who remember why, I decided a number of years ago to boycott St. Patty's Day parties.  I just kind of think it was the appropriate thing to do.

But I didn't boycott the food!  Which has resulted in a number of delicious stews, breads, and desserts.

Maybe next year I'll be brave and make colcannon.  I don't really know what that entails, but I'm sure it will be delicious.

This year, I tested a different Soda Bread recipe.  The actual name of the recipe is 'Classic Irish Soda Bread', but I can't imagine that cake flour was readily available to the general population.  But whatever.

Let's just call it classic.

In a large bowl, add the all-purpose flour.

Then the cake flour.

Then the sugar.

The baking soda.

And the cream of tartar.  (which is often difficult to come by in my neck of the woods.  Seriously.  I have witnesses)

Then toss in the butter.  Use a fork to break up the butter in the bread.  You can use a fork, but I also used my hands.

And then stir in the buttermilk.

You want to stir in the buttermilk using a fork until it forms a loose dough.
Turn it out onto the counter and knead it together until it's JUST combined.  If you stop when the dough is smooth, it'll come out of the oven tough.  It should be lumpy and ugly looking.  That's when you know you've got it right.
Then form the ugly dough into a 6-inch circle about 2 inches thick.  And place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet.


And, using a very sharp knife, cut a cross-shape  - not too far down.  I'd say about an inch.

Then the dough gets baked in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

The result is a heavy, dense, chewy bread that is totally perfect for sopping up rich, luxurious gravy from a stew - like this one.  (I love this stew, I think you will too!)
Just so you know, I that found the next day the leftovers seemed to be dry, but I heated it gently in the microwave and it softened right up. (3 minutes at 30% power)

I hope your St. Patty's Day is bright and fun!

An Irish Blessing from my favorite Irishman:
May you have love that never ends,
Lots of money, and lots of friends.
Health be yours, whatever you do,
and may God send many blessings to you!

xoxo - Heather

Irish Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter for topping
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and the salt.
  3. Add the butter and use a fork (or your fingers) to cut the butter into the flour until the flour resembles large crumbs.
  4. Slowly add in the buttermilk and stir into the flour using a fork until a shaggy dough forms.
  5. Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead until just combined.  The result should be a rough, lumpy dough.
  6. Form  the dough into a disc shape 6 inches across and 2 inches thick.
  7. Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for 40 - 45 minutes, until golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool to room temperature and serve.

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