Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Today is St. Patrick's Day and parades and celebrations are plentiful and everything is green!

I'm not so much into the celebration and party atmosphere that the holiday brings....rather, I'm here in my kitchen, having my own kind of fun with flour, butter, milk and a few other ingredients.  The holiday has inspired me to try something new, something I've not made before....Irish Soda Bread.  It is surprisingly simple and uber easy if you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer to lend a hand.

I haven't planned a "traditional" Irish meal.  You see, I'm not a big fan of corned beef and cabbage and boiled potatoes.  It's not the veggies I have issues with, I'm just not a big fan of corned beef.  Instead I am slow cooking a brisket with my homemade dry rib rub and grilling some cabbage slices and will accompany those with this recipe for Irish Soda Bread (slathered with butter).

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.   The recipe has a high rating and a sea of positive comments.  Based on the comments of the masses, I altered the baking instructions just slightly.  I lowered the oven temperature and increased the baking time.  I also opted to bake my bread as 2 loaves rather than one large loaf and I'm baking it in baking pans that are stoneware (think pizza stone) in hopes of a nice crusty bottom on the loaves.

Don't worry about the 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup buttermilk that you baste the bread with.  It sounds like a lot, but I used every drop.  The bread is out of the oven now and it smells heavenly and it sure looks is tasty!

Irish Soda Bread
adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
If you are using a pizza stone or stoneware baking dishes, preheat the baking dishes along with the oven.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the four, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup butter.  It should look like this when it is "right".


Stir in the egg and buttermilk.




Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead a few turns to pull it together.  Don't work it too much.  This is a different type of dough than regular bread dough and it won't benefit from excessive kneading.  


Form the dough into two 6 inch rounds and place them in the baking dishes (or on a cookie sheet, etc.). 


Pat the dough down slightly and using a sharp knife make a "X" in the top of the loaves. 
(I think I cut mine too deep, I'll go a little easier next time I make the bread.)

In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and buttermilk.
Brush the tops of the loaves with this mixture and put them into the preheated oven.
Bake 50-60 minutes, checking for doneness.  When done a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf will come out clean.  Brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it continues to bake.  I did 4 brushings every 10-15 minutes.

When the loaves come out of the oven, wrap them in a clean dish towel and set the loaves on racks to cool.  Yes, it is okay to slice off a chunk!  Everyone knows the best bread is warm from the oven!  

I am really satisfied with this recipe.  I think it also has great possibilities for added ingredients such as rosemary, raisins, apricots, etc. 

Tie on your apron, and bake up a couple of loaves and share one with a friend!

I'll close today's post with an Irish Blessing.

May joy and peace surround you,
    Contentment latch your door, 
        And happiness be with you now,
            And bless you evermore."


...and that's What's Cooking at Cathy's ~ Enjoy!

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About Me

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My career is in IT.  Cooking and photography are among a few of my hobbies. In my spare time, which is most weekends I tie on my apron and exercise my creativity by trying new recipes and adapting them to my tastes. I also have a passion for photography that I incorporate by taking photographs to go along with the recipes I post on my blog.  
I also enjoy travel, both near and abroad. Meeting new people, new experiences and cultures and oh, not to mention the food! I hope you enjoy my blog.