Sunday, February 21, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

I was going to save this until St. Patty's Day but it was just too good this morning to keep in the backlog of recipes to post file. That and the fact that any self-respecting Irishman would turn his nose up to this version of soda bread made me think that this is really a breakfast bread more so than Irish Soda Bread. The Irish will tell you that if it contains raisins, eggs, baking powder, sugar or shortening, it's called "cake", not "bread." As you will see, I hit three out of five ingredients in that description and I think I can safely say that this "Irish Soda Bread" is completely off the reservation. If you are Irish, please do not hate me.

So, as a breakfast bread, this is an excellent weekend treat because it is so very easy and you can have that intoxicating smell running through your place in no time. No kneading, rising, yeasting and this is a fun bread because improvising with ingredients is fairly easy. Again, to the Irish, don't hate me.

One final note, if you are going to have bread straight out of the oven on Sunday morning, may I suggest supplementing that fresh bread with flowers, coffee with a hit of cinnamon, the newspaper and a cute little dog who thinks your feet are her bed. Just a thought. xoxo - AJ

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home


4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup dried currants
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants and walnuts with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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