Thursday, February 7, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

The recipe came from Gourmet, a reader's recipe, Stephanie Foley of Massapequa, Long Island, from March, 2002. It's a bit different than many Irish Soda Bread recipes, which is why I decided to try it, back then. With the exception of the butter brushed on the loaves prior to baking, the only fat in it comes from the buttermilk, which isn't much. I've made it several times since then, always getting rave reviews for it. Truly it comes together in about 7 minutes, including time to gather the ingredients. Then it bakes about 35-40 minutes. Ideally you'll want to let it rest a bit before cutting it, but sometimes I've not had that luxury. But you must let it rest about 5 minutes, otherwise it's too hot to handle. It's heaven-on-a-bun [pun intended] with some unsalted butter spread on it, accompanying a soup.

Ready for the oven: here are the dough loaves, cut with 1/2 inch deep furrows, spread with butter.

Cook's Notes: my flour must be drier here in Southern California, than some, because I always have to add a drizzle more buttermilk to the bowl to give the dough enough liquid to pull it together. I added walnuts to this one, but that's optional. I'm sure it's not traditional. Some people don't like caraway, so eliminate it. I didn't melt the butter to spread on top of the loaves - I just used a spreader knife and brushed it with very soft butter instead. I've never tried substituting some whole wheat flour, but am sure you could. Would be better for us, obviously. This recipe says it serves up to 12 people. Maybe so, if you ate only one small slice. Not in our house. Each loaf probably serves 4, but that's max unless you have very small eaters.

Irish Soda Bread
Recipe: Gourmet, March, 2002
Servings: 12 [more like 8]
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds [optional]
1 cup raisins, golden raisins or currants [also optional]
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped [my addition]
1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted.
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Butter and flour a large baking sheet, knocking off excess flour.
3. Sift together 4 cups flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and stir in sugar, caraway, and raisins. Add buttermilk and stir just until dough is evenly moistened but still lumpy.
4. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and gently knead with floured hands about 8 times to form a soft but slightly less sticky dough.
5. Halve dough and form into 2 balls. Pat out each ball into a domed 6-inch round on baking sheet. Cut a 1/2-inch-deep X on top of each loaf with a sharp knife, then brush loaves with butter.
6. Bake in middle of oven until golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer loaves to racks to cool completely.
Per Serving: 226 Calories; 3g Fat (11.1% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 45g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 6mg Cholesterol; 394mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
Printer-friendly recipe, click title at top.

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