Friday, October 2, 2009

Irish Soda Bread

Have I ever mentioned how much I love bread? Oh yes, I believe I have.

I decided I wanted to visit Ireland for my final contribution to Desserts of the World Week. I was inspired by two friends who had just returned from a trip to Ireland, where they got engaged.

So I logged onto, and searched for Irish recipes. An Irish Soda Bread recipe jumped out at me instantly, begging to be made.

I'd never had soda bread, but I learned from the reviews that it is supposed to be a little drier and more crumbly than most of the bread we are used to the states. My Irish-traveling friend told me that restaurants in Ireland serve it with every. single. meal. By the end, she was practically an Irish Soda Bread critic.

Anyway, I found this recipe to be shockingly easy (especially for bread, which can be a bit of a pain to make from scratch). I made it to go along with a pasta dish my husband made for dinner. It did not disappoint. It was very dense and a bit crumbly, as expected, and I loved the buttery taste of the crust. I stuck the leftovers in the fridge and had some again the next night with a big salad and was quite content. I think it would be great with chili or potato and leek soup, too, but it is *still* too hot in Phoenix for that. Pity me, please.


4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture.

Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.


My notes

*I brushed the top of the bread 4 or 5 times while it cooked to make the crust as moist and flavorful as possible. I'm glad I did.

*One commenter on allrecipes suggested using this recipe to make biscuits instead of one big loaf. She said to split the dough into biscuit-sized balls, place them on the cookie sheet and bake them at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on the top. I'm definitely going to try that next time. The quick prep and cook time of the biscuits would make this a great last-minute addition to a meal during the week.


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