Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

There are two kinds of Irish Soda Bread: the scone-like one with raisins and caraway seeds and the heartier one that is impossible to make with American wheat flours.

I really enjoy the scone-like soda bread. This year, however, I've procured some traditional wholemeal flour from the Food Ireland website and am thrilled with the results. It's the soda bread I ate in Ireland. It's the soda bread I was thought I was making last year when following a recipe from the gorgeous Saveur Ireland issue. It's the soda bread I'll be shaking my fist at in a couple of weeks when I realize I gained five pounds eating soda bread.

Wholemeal Irish Soda Bread
Print recipe only here

Preheat oven to 400°

In a medium mixing bowl, combine:

* 10 oz. coarse wholemeal flour
* 6 oz. all-purpose flour
* 1 t baking soda
* 1 t salt

Work in with your hands (rubbing in with fingers):

* 1 oz. unsalted butter (Kerrygold or a similar high-butterfat European butter is nice)

Stir in gently but thoroughly:

* Between 1 and 1 ½ cups buttermilk

When the dough just comes together, turn it out onto a baking sheet dusted with semolina (or a cast iron pan, or onto a dusted pizza peel). Pat it down a bit so that it's about 8 inches in diameter.

Use a sharp knife to cut a cross into the top. Dust the top with a small handful of wholemeal flour and place in the oven.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when you thump the bottom.

Erin go bragh.

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