Irish Soda Bread
Soda bread is a type of quick bread common in Ireland since the mid 1800s. Instead of yeast, baking soda is used as the leavening agent (creates small air pockets in the dough to help it rise). In Ireland, soda breads are made from soft wheat (cake flour) and buttermilk. Traditionally, no raisins or other fruits are added. I am able to find cake flour in a box in the baking aisle near the boxed cake mixes. It is also available on Amazon: Swans Down Cake Flour and Organic Whole Cake Flour.
For those who aren’t comfortable working with yeast, this bread is a great one to bake. There are no rising times and creating the dough is similar to making biscuits. I have made this bread in the food processor before, but you have to be careful not to overmix the dough.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust oven rack to top third of oven. Line with parchment or grease a large baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Blend in 2 tablespoons of the butter with a dough blender, fork, or by hand.
Stir in the buttermilk with a fork just until the dough comes together. Knead on a lightly floured surface to form the dough into a round loaf, about 12 turns. Be careful not to overmix to avoid a tough dough.
Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet and gently form into a 6 inch wide, 2 inch high circle. Cut 2 perpendicular lines about 1/2 inch deep on top of the loaf in the shape of an X.
Bake in preheated oven until top is golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Melt remaining tablespoon butter and brush over the bread. Let cool to room temperature before serving, about 40 minutes.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, from Baking Illustrated
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Tagged: bread, ireland, irish, soda, st. patrick's day