Sunday, November 20, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

The best recipes are often the simplest.  Those containing few, basic ingredients.  The kind you can whip up easily on a Sunday morning and share with the family.  Irish Soda Bread is one such recipe.  Its one of the most delicious and easiet breads to make.

Soda breads are aptly named because the levening agent used in them is baking soda, rather than yeast.

Unlike most bread, there is little kneading and because there is no yeast, no rising is necessary.  The whole thing can be made and baked in about 45 minutes (largely unattended).  So sit back, relax, and make some soda bread.

Irish Soda Bread
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (may replace with all purpose flour)
  • 1 & 3/4 cup of whole buttermilk
  • 1 tsp of coarse salt
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
Buttermilk is a key ingredient to Irish Soda Bread.  You cannot replace it with regular milk.  The buttermilk helps make the bread soft and crumbly.


Step 1: Sift together flours, salt and baking soda in a large bowl


Step 2: Add most of the buttermilk


Step 3: Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.  The dough will be coarse and shaggy.  If its too dry to come together, then add the rest of the buttermilk


Step 4: Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead for a minute or two.  Shape the dough into a boule and flatten slightly so that in forms a 6 inch round.  As is tradition with Irish Soda Bread, use a sharp serrated knife to score a cross in the center. 


Step 5: Brush the top lightly with oil and place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 35-40 minutes.  Keep an eye on the bread and if towards the end of the baking time it's getting too brown on top, tent it with some foil.  The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.



This bread is best served warm.  Its got a lovely crumbly interior.  Spread some jam on a slice and you've got the perfect breakfast treat.

So the next time you are having a lazy morning, whip up a loaf of Irish Soda Bread.  You'll be glad you did!


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