Irish Soda Bread.
I made this Irish Soda Bread from Beard on Bread to go with our homemade lentil soup this weekend. I've always used the white variation rather than the standard wheat bread - since generally I don't have wheat flour on hand.
This recipe is pretty fast, easy, and very forgiving. Here's the complete recipe for the white variation:
Irish Soda Bread (White)
Preheat oven to 375°. Butter an 8-inch cake pan or cookie sheet.
- 4 cups ap flour
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon 2x baking powder
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups buttermilk
Combine dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add just "enough buttermilk to to make a soft dough, similar in quality to biscuit dough but firm enough to hold its shape. Knead on a lightly floured board for 2 or 3 minutes, until quite smooth and velvety."
Form into a round loaf and place on baking pan/sheet. Cut a cross on the top of the loaf with floured knife. Bake oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the loaf is nicely browned and sounds hollow.
The quoting above is directly from Beard. Bread-making is an inherently fidgety business - the amount flour needed often depends on the humidity of the air. But Beard's recipes can be very persnickety. I've cut out the bit where he instructs you how and how not to slice your Irish Soda Bread.
For this recipe, you may need to add just the minimum amount of buttermilk, or add more flour. You're looking for dough that's thicker than cake batter; ideally it should form into a ball. With my my stand mixer's dough hook, the dough was much wetter and stickier than hand-kneaded previous efforts. In fact, I feared my machine assisted dough would be a failure, but it still came out as bread after baking. (I suspect that the mixer's sticky dough was due to not allowing enough time for the flour to absorb the buttermilk.) Anyhow, give this recipe a try - it's a pretty good beginner's bread recipe.
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