Sunday, March 7, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

Of all the things there are to be intimidated by Irish Soda Bread is not one of them. However last year's attempt came out terrible; Dry, crumbly, hard and just all around bad. It left me undecided as to whether the poor outcome was a result of human error, a bad recipe or if soda bread just doesn't taste very good. After all it originated out of need for a quick, cheap way to put bread on the table in Ireland. I began thinking that maybe that was it; soda bread just wasn't very good. 

Then, as March rolled around once again, thoughts of whiskey and alas, soda bread began to dance through my mind. I remembered last year's failure and pushed away the desire to make another floury dough ball but then I remembered the tender, crumbly (in a good way) soda breads of elementary school. I lived in a heavily Irish area and on St. Patrick's day the mothers of other children would bring in green bagels (ew) and freshly baked soda bread, flecked with raisins and slathered with salted butter. The memories were enough to get me back on the soda bread bandwagon and that's how I arrived at this recipe. It's all the things I remember it to be and I completely rescind my unfriendly comment about soda bread just not being very good.

It's loosely adapted from Richard Corrigan via Jules on one of my favorite blogs, The Stone Soup. If you haven't seen her site you should check it out. In the mean time preheat your ovens. Next time I will be adding plump raisins and perhaps making some fresh butter.
Irish Soda Bread
I did not convert this to standard measurements but I promise metric really is easy. In fact this whole recipe is easy. I slept late this morning (8am!) and still made it for breakfast without rushing in the least. The whole thing takes maybe 40 minutes from start to finish. Serves 4 as a breakfast or 6-8 as a side. Adapted from Richard Corrigan via The Stone Soup.

100g self raising flour (or 100g unbleached white flour and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder)
200g whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
225mL low-fat buttermilk
4T honey

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and dust generously with extra whole wheat flour. 
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. 
Whisk together buttermilk and honey. 
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour buttermilk mix into the hole.
Using a fork gently stir to just to combine and form a soft dough. Be careful not to over mix it or it will be tough. Shape into a round and place onto the baking tray. 
With a sharp knife gently score a cross into the top and dust with flour.

Bake for 30-35mins or until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. 
Allow to cool then serve with a generous spread of salted butter

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