Thursday, March 18, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

Before yesterday, I'd never had Irish Soda Bread. This wouldn't such a problem if I wasn't trying to bake it, with no idea what it's supposed to look like, or even taste like. Frankly, I was clueless.

Another random fact about me; when I'm clueless, I get antsy. It isn't pleasant for anyone. And the Boy sat and stared at me while I went through my entire cookbook collection looking for recipes. And trust me, this is quite a feat all on its own. Then I check every recipe site on the internet , you know, just to be sure.

I settled on a recipe from called Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread. Firstly, because it was submit by someone named Megan. Secondly, because it's title reads 'Amazingly Easy'. Third, in one of the comments a woman mentioned she used her kitchenaid mixer. And once in a while, I'm allowed to be lazy.

The recipe seemed fairly easy, and I even happened to have some buttermilk (if you don't, it's very simple to make your own so don't panic). I knew I was going to make one change to the recipe, but that was simply using real butter instead of margarine.

Using my Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment, I worked the room temperature butter into flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder until the butter had broken down to pea-size, give the flour mix a grainy texture. To this I added the buttermilk and an egg, all at once, and mixed on a low setting until everything was just combined. It seemed a little dry to me, so I added some additional buttermilk to get a good texture to the dough.

I turned it out onto a lightly floured cutting board and kneaded it for just a minute. I shaped the dough into a dome, and placed it on a baking sheet. Then using melted butter mixed with more buttermilk, I let the boy brush the outside of the bread, then using a sharp knife I cut an X into the top of the dome. I baked the bread at 350* for an hour, until the outside was crispy and golden brown.

When I cut into it for the first time, the warm smell of the bread about knocked me over. My goodness, it was basically a ginormous buttermilk biscuit! Slightly sweet and flaky, but just sturdy enough to be wonderful dipped in soup or stew. I even slathered a piece with jam and whipped cream and had it for dessert! This was so quick and simple, I will definitely be making this again in the near future!

Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread adapted from

4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
4 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 butter, melted
1/4 buttermilk

Pre-heat oven to 350*. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

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