Irish Soda Bread

Baking

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St. Patrick’s Day may have come and passed, but who else is still dreaming about that Irish soda bread?? Amirite?? Oh so rich and crumbly and light – practically cake! My Dad and I went for the traditional dinner of corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. My Mom usually makes Irish Soda Bread every now and then but she wasn’t home on St. Patrick’s Day! So, not to go against tradition, I decided I’d try to make it myself.

This bread is incredibly simple to make. Imagine the scene in Sleeping Beauty when the fairies are making a cake (did I mention this bread tastes like cake?) minus the part about “folding” in the eggs. I used the recipe from Firehouse Food, Cooking with San Francisco’s Firemen— my Dad’s go to cook book. (Just make enough for an Engine Company, he says. I have no idea what that means Dad!) I definitely took some artistic liberties though. No walnuts, carraway seeds, raisins, currants, craisins, or whatever else would bring the devil into this heavenly bread. Why would you want to go ruining it by throwing raisins in there? Also, major game changer here: Buttermilk! My Mom has definitely made this bread with buttermilk before, but more often than not she opts to put lemon juice in milk to get that curdley buttermilk texture. But true buttermilk really takes this bread to the next level.

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Notice, in the picture in the above left, how the bread just glistens! I’ll let you in on a secret. Not so secret since it’s listed below, but here we go anyways. After you put the batter in the pan, you sprinkle with sugar. After the bread is done baking, you rub it with butter. Nothing like a good old butter rub, #mybutterhalf. This bread includes everything I love! Well, almost…

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Once you slice it, slather it with, you guessed it, more butter and some jam!I used seedless raspberry jam. Mmm such a tasty treat! Like you’re having dessert for dinner. Then, the next morning you toast it up and it’s the perfect companion to your coffee or tea!

UPDATE: After making this soda bread, my Dad and I had a crazy idea. The only thing that could make this bread better: CHOCOLATE. So phase 2 began. Not five days after I made this bread, I made another one. This time in a loaf pan, but more importantly, with chocolate chips. Revolutionary, if I do say.

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Mmm just drink that in. Look at how it shines! That perfect golden brown color! And it was just as good as it looks. P.S. My Dad insists on having this bread at dinner, and this particular night we had taco salad…and chocolate chip Irish soda bread. Don’t knock it, until you’ve tried it.

Irish Soda Bread

1 cup raisins

4 cups, plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 cup, plus 1/2 tsp sugar

1 tsp baking soda

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds or anise seed

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted; plus 1 tbsp, at room temp

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 300ºF. Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet and line the bottom of the skillet with a round of waxed paper or parchment. Lightly butter and flour the sides and bottom of the lined pan. (I used a 9 inch cake pan, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and coated with flour)

In a bowl, coat the raisins with 1 tablespoon of the flour, separating any that are stuck together; set aside. Combine the remaining 4 cups of flour with 1/2 cup of the sugar, the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and the caraway seeds in a large bowl.

In another large bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk and melted butter. Pour the mixture into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter. Fold in the raisins and walnuts, if using. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet, level the top with a spatula (batter is very sticky, so spray spatula with non-stick spray) and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sugar over the top.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Spread the 1 tablespoon of butter over the top of the bread and let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and invert the bread onto a serving plate. Remove the waxed paper and cool for 10 minutes more. Flip the bread over and serve with butter.

via Firehouse Food, Cooking with San Francisco’s Firemen

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