Monday, March 14, 2016
Irish Soda Bread
Caraway and raisins in the same loaf may be why this is an acquired taste. I don't know how that makes this Irish, but the soda part is because it is a quick bread and not a yeast-raised dough. It looks like a yeast bread and isn't the high-fat, sweet-laden dough that usually defines a quick bread, hence the confusion (at least my own). As it was baking, I realized from the aroma that these are just really big scones.
This recipe is from a children's cookbook with a few tweaks, and the method is from the Bible. The temperature is a compromise between the two. Both original temperatures made sense in their original recipes, but my changes prompted a slight change in oven temp and baking time.
4 C flour, divided
1 Tb baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 Tb sugar
3 Tb margarine
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 C raisins
1 egg, beaten
2 C buttermilk
1 Tb sanding or crystallized sugar (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375º. Sift together 3-1/2 C flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in margarine until it disappears into flakes. Stir in caraway and raisins.
2. Reserve 1 Tb each of beaten egg and buttermilk to make an egg wash. Pour remainder into flour and stir until thoroughly moistened.
3. Using remaining flour, turn dough onto a board and shape into two round balls. Place on a greased or lined sheet pan. Brush loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. With a floured knife, cut a 1/4" deep cross in loaves.
4. Bake for 1 hour. If loaves don't sound hollow, continue in 5 minute increments. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely, at least 2 hours.
5. Either serve within a couple of days or wrap in plastic and foil and freeze.
Makes 2 8" loaves
Difficulty rating π