(c) A Marcy Goldman, BetterBaking.Com Original Recipe
Classic Irish Soda Bread
Most authentic Irish soda breads are whole wheat but combinations of half white and half whole wheat or white whole-wheat make for a fine standing loaf. As with anything else, a larger proportion of white flour will give an airier and higher loaf. All wholewheat will give you a more rustic, nutty loaf. Both eggs and caraway seeds are optional. I alternate on including the caraway seeds but often omit the eggs. You will use more of the buttermilk if you omit the eggs. I like this with a wedge of sharp cheddar or imported Cheshire or Lancastershire cheese - and a couple of pickled onions for a makeshift ploughman's platter. I made miniatures of this recipe for my sister-in-law Sheila Moore's shower a few years ago. Each guest got their own brown-paper and cord, and green ribboned package of still-warm soda bread.....and the marriage that followed is going strong. Is it the special union or the soda bread? Baking is....magic.
1 cup mixed raisins and currants (or all raisins) plumped
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white whole wheat or regular whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, optional
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs, optional
1 1/4 to 2 cups buttermilk
Flour for dusting, or oatmeal or wheat bran
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Prepare raisins (and currants) by covering with boiling water for 3 minutes, drain and dry. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Cut butter fat into dry ingredients by hand or using the paddle or hook on a mixer at slow speed. Add eggs and buttermilk to form a soft dough. Turn out onto floured (white flour) work surface and gently knead 8 times or so, to firm up dough. Let rest 10 minutes.
Shape into a 8 or 9 inch round. Score with a knife to make a cross. Dust generously with white or whole-wheat flour or sprinkle on bran or oatmeal flakes. Place in a seasoned cast iron pan and bake 30-45 minutes until top is brown. Cool on a rack
Makes one large bread, serves 6-8
© This is a Marcy Goldman/BetterBaking.com original recipe
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