Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Luck of the Irish Soda Bread

If you followed Charlestown Culinary back in January, you may remember my post We All Make Mistakes. In this post, I recounted my disastrous attempt at making oatmeal bread. I am not sure if it was because my second homemade bread attempt was yeast-free, or if it was because it was Irish Soda Bread. Whatever the reason, this bread came out wonderful and was completely gone only hours after baking. Traditional soda bread is plain, however I chose to use a recipe that called for the addition of raisins and a little bit of sugar. Hints: The recipe I used, from epicurious.com, called for white flour, but I chose to substitute whole wheat flour. The other change I made that I would recommend, was to use a pastry blender to incorporate the butter in the dough. Using this little tool made mixing the cold butter with the flour mixture very easy.

Bon App├ętit's Recipe for Irish Soda Bread with Raisins:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8-inch-diameter cake pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk. Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend. Mix in raisins. Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared pan and flatten slightly (dough will not come to edges of pan). Sprinkle dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter.

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