Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Proper Saint Patrick's Day Meal. Part Three. Irish Raisin Soda Bread.

Previously for Saint Patrick's day, I made a spice-rubbed, braised, and glazed corned beef brisket and colcannon. Our Saint Patrick's day celebration continues with Irish Soda bread, so named because it uses baking soda as the leavening ingredient.
Legend has it that the customary X-slash cut into the top before baking serves to ward off evil spirits.
Irish Raisin Soda Bread 4 cups flour 3 TB sugar 3 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 3/4 tsp baking soda 6 TB cold unsalted butter, diced 1 cup raisins 1 TB caraway seeds 2 eggs, beaten 1 1/2 cups buttermilk Mix first five ingredients in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until you have coarse to pea-sized crumbs. Stir in raisins and caraways seeds. Set aside 1 TB beaten egg for a wash. In a small bowl, combine remaining eggs and buttermilk. Stir into flour mixture and mix until flour is just moistened. It will be a sticky dough. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead a bit. If the dough's too sticky, lightly dust it with flour. Form into a ball. Place in a buttered 9-inch round baking pan. Cut a 4-inch long, 1/4-inch deep cross in the center. Brush the top with the reserved tablespoon of egg. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15-20 minutes. Cool about 15 minutes in pan, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda.
First, one must properly measure dry ingredients. Do not use the glass Pyrex measuring cups for dry ingredients. They're used for liquid measurements. When measuring flour, scoop and sweep.
Scoop and sweep.
Ever noticed the opening to a baking powder can and wonder why isn't it open all the way around and what's that metal lip for?
It has a built in scoop and sweep.
Add in cold unsalted diced butter.
Toss to coat.
Work in the butter with a pastry blender. You don't want a homogeneous mixture. You want different sized crumbs from coarse meal to pea.
Next, mix in the raisins and caraway seeds.
In a small bowl, mix remaining eggs and buttermilk.
Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture.
Mix it in.
Keep working the dough ...
... until you can pull it into a shaggy ball. It's a sticky dough, so you may need to lightly dust it with flour.
Keep kneading until you can ...
... form it into a ball.
Place in buttered 9-inch round cake pan and cut a cross in the top.
Brush with the reserved egg and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15-20 minutes. I tented it with foil after about 50 minutes.
Cool about 15 minutes in the pan, then cool completely on a wire rack. By the way, that's Moreover Corned Beef Hash in the background.
Ta daa!
Toast a slice, smear some butter on it, and drizzle on some sourwood honey.
Treat yourself to some Irish Raisin Soda Bread.
The sweet raisins are a nice contrast with the caraway seeds.
Erin go bragh!

1 comment:

Mr. P said...

Looks yummy.