Sunday, March 17, 2013

Irish Soda Bread

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!  As promised, I am posting the simple but oh-so-tasty recipe for the Irish Soda Bread I made.

I often wondered why it is called soda bread and the answer is literally in the list of ingredients…soda bread contains sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, instead of yeast as a leavening agent.  This particular recipe also calls for buttermilk.  It’s the buttermilk that reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide, that, together with the other ingredients of butter, flour, sugar, salt, and currants, give this bread its melt-in-your-mouth yumminess. The buttermilk can be replaced by yogurt or even Irish stout to make it even more authentic. 

I used Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter made from the milk of cows that graze on the grassy green hillsides of Ireland.  You can read about my trip to Ireland last year with sister, brother and sister-in-law here.

Enjoy this soda bread with some softened Irish butter, jam, and a cup of tea for a perfect (and early!) St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Irish Soda Bread
3 ¼ cups flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup cold butter, cut up
1-1/3 cups buttermilk
½ - ¾ cup of currants

HEAT oven to 350°F.

MIX flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk and currants; stir just until moistened.

PLACE dough on lightly floured surface; knead 10 times – don’t over knead! Shape into 2-1/2-inch-thick round. Place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Cut deep 1/2-inch "X" in top of dough; sprinkle with remaining sugar.

BAKE 1 hour or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to wire rack; cool completely before cutting into wedges.

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