Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish soda bread

**This is not a gluten-free recipe and was posted before I eliminated gluten from my diet.**

Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day
I couldn't let St. Patrick's Day go by without some Irish food. And given my newly-discovered love for bread baking, it seemed obvious that I should include some soda bread. Many of the American recipes call for all kinds of additions (mostly raisins and some sort of sugar), but true soda bread only has 4 ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. I flirted with the idea of making one of the "fancy" ones, but decided that I should start with an authentic, unadulterated version. If you're looking for one that's a bit sweeter, Kalyn has a tasty-sounding recipe.

Irish soda bread (adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen)

1 1/4 cup whole white wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup + 1 Tbsp buttermilk (I added 1 Tbsp vinegar to 1 cup milk)

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add buttermilk and stir just until a dough forms. Oil a small baking sheet, flour hands, and form dough into a circle on the baking sheet (obviously I didn't do so well in geometry). Bake at 425 until it's golden brown (about 30 min). Serve while warm.

This was very good. I'm glad I started with the plain version because I can really taste the bread. It has a hint of sweetness (from the whole wheat flour), and is very dense and pairs perfectly with a nice stew. I ate mine with a lamb and root veggie stew and discovered that I don't like lamb. Eh, it's nice to know, and the veggies were still delicious. I suppose that's what I get for not wearing green for most of the day. Stop yelling at me... it's not my fault! I had to wear my Brain Awareness Week shirt to talk to 5th graders about the importance of the nervous system, and unfortunately the shirts are blue (but very cool, nonetheless).

So, before the day is done, stick some of this in the oven. It's so easy that you don't have any excuse. And feel free to play with the flours if you don't have these on hand. But, I highly recommend the whole wheat flours because they give it that delicious sweetness that you can never mimic with refined sugar.

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