Irish Soda Bread
This week I am co-host of Tuesdays with Dorie along with Carla of Chocolate Moosey. One of the privileges of hosting is Carla & I get to post the recipe on our blogs. With such an easy recipe I was worried I would not have much to say ~ surprise!
The book states that this bread does not last past the day it is made. I whipped this up after getting home from a 12 mile hike; this is so easy you can whip it up quickly (only 4 ingredients!) and toss it into the oven to bake while you prepare dinner, and have fresh warm bread to go along with. This is also the perfect recipe if you have young kids around and want to boost there confidence in the kitchen.
I took an un-traditional route and added approximately 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese to the batter and after forming the ball and cutting an X into the top I sprinkled more cheese on top. The finished product resembled in flavor a biscuit and with the added cheese it was so good it was hard to stop eating, even though this bread is heavy and dense and fills you up quickly.
Being that there is only two of us, we were unable to eat the whole loaf though we had no problem devouring half of it. I tossed the other half into the freezer which I took out the very next day since the weather turned cold and I made chicken noodle soup for dinner. Dipping the bread into the broth made it taste like a dumpling ~ and I love dumplings.
I had half of a loaf plus two slices in the bag from the freezer. The slices I wrapped in a paper towel and put into the microwave for about 10-15 seconds and wrapped the rest in foil and heated it in a 375°F oven till warm. The bread tasted fine, as it did the following day sitting on the counter in a Ziploc bag - just a bit drier texture. I toasted up a slice to go with my morning coffee and it was delicious, better in fact! Toasted, this would be really good with scrambled eggs and a great canvas for leftover lekvar for those of you that made it from our previous recipe of rugelach.
There is something to be said about making your own bread; even the more time consuming yeast breads. The aroma while baking, and the warm, tasty goodness of fresh bread from the oven puts you in a state of overwhelming bliss.
Success meter (1-3): 3
The broth soaking into the bread gives it a dumpling like flavor.
Makes wonderful toast even three days later!
Crunchy outside ~ soft and chewy on the inside.
Irish Soda Bread
Makes one 8-inch round loaf
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk
Optional additions: add a cup of raisins, currants, or diced dried fruits to the dough.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 8-inch glass pie plate or baking sheet; set aside.
Mixing and Kneading: Put the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Add the buttermilk and stir vigorously until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently for a minute. The dough will be soft and malleable, but, tantalizing as it is, it should not be overworked. Pat the dough into a disk about 6 inches across, slash an X across the top, cutting it about ½-inch deep, and place the dough in the greased pan (it won’t tough the sides of the pan – that’s OK) or on the baking sheet.
Baking the Bread: Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the slash has widened and the bread is golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool completely, then slice or wrap in a moist towel until ready to serve. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.
Storing: The bread can be kept for a few hours, wrapped and at room temperature, but by the end of the day, with just the wee bit of fat that’s in the buttermilk, it will turn as hard as the Blarney Stone.
Baking with Julia/Dorie Greenspan
Contributing Baker: Marion Cunningham