Lucky Irish Soda Bread
We’re finally back again after teaching two ‘I died and went to Carboholic Heaven’ cooking courses at local schools. “Much Ado About Gnocchi” and “Risotto Rules.” turned out to be exciting and successful. Our students were stellar and left well fed and much wiser. Marge and I can finally take a deep breath catch up on “Flavory Savory.” We’ll fill you in on the tasty details of our classes in a future post.
Easter came and left like the “Good & Plenty” freight train, loud, flashy, and chocked full of good things to eat. And what do you do at 6 AM on Easter morning when the house is sound asleep, not even a peep, except from our dachshund…who wanted to eat? You make Irish Soda Bread of course.
I rejected using my weary old soda bread recipes, tried and true but ever so boring. I opted for a variation of an Ina Garten soda bread that I had seen her make a few weeks earlier. It looked simple, delicious, and was done entirely in a KitchenAid. (A bit noisy for a my quiet morning house but massively efficient) With a few modifications and alterations, I was able to pop the dough into the oven in less than thirty minutes. (Move over Rachel!)
Let me warn you. This dough is very, very wet and sticky. I found myself wearing it as much as working it. Use tons of flour on your board and hands to keep the dough and your sanity together. The original recipe calls for shaping the dough into a single loaf, too massive to lift. I’ve modified the recipe so you can make two smaller loaves and freeze one. Add a tablespoon or so of caraway seeds along with the raisins if your fancy travels in that direction.
So here it is…enjoy some warm Irish soda bread today. And please don’t scold with the feared question…”Another bread recipe??”
IRISH SODA BREAD
Adapted from an Ina Garten Recipe
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for board and raisins
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk
2-large eggs, lightly beaten
Zest of one orange
1 cup dark or golden raisins
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or Silpat and spray with Pam or similar. This bread tends to stick.
Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a KitchenAid or similar mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the cold butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour and the size of small peas, around 1 minute.
Lightly beat the buttermilk, eggs, and orange zest together in a large measuring cup with a fork or whisk. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture for brushing on the loaves. With the mixer on slow speed, carefully add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Toss the raisins with a few tablespoons of flour in a bowl and then into the dough on slow speed. Remember, I said that this dough will be quite wet and sticky.
Scoop out the dough onto an amply-floured board and knead for a minute or so into a large ball. Use as much flour as needed to work the dough. Divide the ball in half and shape into two round loaves. Place the loaves on the prepared sheet pan and cut a shallow X into the top of each loaf with a serrated knife. Brush each loaf with the reserved buttermilk mixture.
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife or tester comes out clean. The internal temperature of the loaves should be at least 200 degrees F. The loaf should have a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.
Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with softened butter or jam.
Makes 1 giant loaf or 2 manageable loaves