06 March, 2013

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread
Darina Allen
Makes 1 large loaf for 8 servings
1-lb (3.5 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, more as needed
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt
1.5 to 1.75 cups buttermilk

Though it's not traditionally Irish, you can add 3-oz raisins with the dry ingredients, or experiment with add-ins like freshly chopped herbs, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, or chocolate chips.

Notes:  Read article, Darina Allen, "How to Make Real Irish Soda Bread." Fine Cooking 121, pp 30-31. 19 Dec 2012. Web. 5 Mar. 2013.

Advance preparations
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 450°F. Lightly flour a large rimmed baking sheet.

Prepare dough
Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large, wide mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in 1.5 cups of the buttermilk. Stir with one hand, fingers apart, moving in circles to incorporate the buttermilk into the dry ingredients. If necessary, add more buttermilk 1 Tbsp at a time until the dough just barely comes together. (The absorption rate varies depending on the brand of flour.) The dough should be soft—don’t overwork it.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat into a round about 6-3/4 inches in diameter and 1-1/2 inches high in the center. Invert the round so the floured side is on top. With a thin, sharp knife, score a cross on the dough about 1/4 inch deep and extending fully from one side to the other.

Bake and cool
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F and bake until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, another twenty to thirty (20 to 30) minutes.

Cool to room temperature on a rack, about two (2) hours, before slicing and serving.

Recipe via Web

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