I am sharing my favorite recipe for Irish Soda Bread with you AND trust me, you can make this with your eyes closed (well, practically). As a matter of fact I talked my brother John through the entire recipe over the phone (he lives across the country). I had him take pictures along the way, and I did the same, so that he knew he was making the dough properly! And much to my surprise…..
His picture of the final product and my bread picture looked exactly the same (no sibling rivalry there)! I have doubled the recipe and even 4 times the recipe with fantastic results. Here’s a little bit of history: Over 100 years ago, hard wheat flour was scarce in Ireland so yeast was not used, because yeast needs a hard (hearty) flour to create carbon dioxide, therefore, allows the dough to rise. Baking soda works with lighter flours, so hence the name Irish Soda Bread. Also, you will see that I use Buttermilk instead of water or regular milk, because the good bacteria in Buttermilk gives it a moist texture rather than a dry-cake like texture. I also add in caraway seeds and raisins, or I have used currants in the past and they work just fine.
So, remember, don’t drink green beer and drive! We live in a small town so take a cab!!!! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all!
Gotta go check the oven….
Irish Soda Bread
2 ½ c. all purpose flour
2 ½ c. whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon plus 1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 ½ t. kosher salt
1 ½ t. caraway seeds
5 ounces butter, cut up into small cubes
1 ¼ c. currants or raisins
2 ½ cups buttermilk, preferably full fat
Preheat the oven 375°F for 1 hour. Combine the dry ingredients and blend the butter in with a pastry blender (or for those of you familiar with the “counting the cold, hard cash” method from cooking classes, use that). Once the mixture is crumbly, add currants. Mix. Add the buttermilk all at once and mix with hands, if the dough is too sticky to knead, add flour as needed. Turn out onto floured surface knead 7 or 8 times, divide dough in half, knead each half a few times, place each on silpat lined tray, pat down to 3” high, slash big x, sprinkle with oats, caraway and a little flour. Bake until 190°F. internal temperature. Cool on rack. Slice with a serrated knife and serve with softened butter and honey, if desired.