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Irish Soda Bread

Would you believe me if I told you that I had never partook in a slice of Irish Soda Bread until I cooked up this recipe?  I tell ya, this is what I love about food blogging.  It forces you to get out of your rut, off your behind, and into your kitchen.  It causes you to read Food and Wine, watch The Food Network and browse through your Citipass coupon book for recipe ideas while waiting for your child to finish up a class (Oh yes, guilty as charged.  I can tell you with complete confidence that at least a handful of recipes I’ve shared on this blog have been inspired by my child’s annual school fundraiser).  And you thought it was all about the coupons.

But back to the topic at hand.  Irish soda bread.  Why I haven’t cooked up a loaf of this bread sooner is beyond me.  It’s quick to make; think no waiting for the yeast to rise. It”s easy enough for even an amateur bread maker to put together; it’s about as simple as mixing together the ingredients, forming it into a ball, and baking it.  And the final result is a moist, flavorful bread that tastes like you spent the entire afternoon pouring your heart and soul into it.  What’s not to love?

Traditional Irish soda bread consists of four main ingredients; Flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk.  That’s all there is to it.  Most recipes these days fancy it up a bit with fruit, sugar, and the like.  This version is no different.  I added a little honey for sweetness and some caraway seeds just because.  Do we really have to save this recipe for St. Patrick’s day?  Because I could easily see this bread becoming a staple in our house.

Let’s get baking.

Start off by grabbing yourself a bowl and filling it with your dry goods.

Now add in any mixers you’d like to include.  In my case I threw in some caraway seeds in order to get a hint of that rye bread flavor I so love.

Stir is all together and then add in your wet ingredients.  Mix it until just combined and pour in a bit of melted butter.  There’s just something about bread and butter that works.

Mix the butter into the dough and form a nice round dough ball.  The less kneading the better with this bread.  You don’t want to over mix it or you’ll get a tough loaf.   The less you “knead” the bread, the more you’ll “need” another slice.  Ok, let’s all give a collective groan.  That line was so bad it was good.  Sometimes I truly crack myself up.

Work the dough until your ingredients are good and mixed and you have a nice soft dough.  Form the dough into a ball and cut a few slits in the dough to allow the center of the bread too release steam and bake more efficiently.  I didn’t show it in this picture, but I cut a plus sign about an inch deep over the top of the ball.  It’s ok if your ball is a bit “rugged” looking.

Place your dough on a baking dish and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes to an hour.  If the top is starting to get a darker brown than you’d like, simply lay a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top of  it to prevent it from burning.

And here’s the finished loaf fresh out of the oven.  That is one beautiful hunk of bread.

So what are you waiting for?  Head to your kitchen, cook up a loaf, grab a slice and celebrate the Irish.  Or the fact that it’s Monday.  Or the fact that you wore pink socks.

Irish Soda Bread

Total Time: 1 hour 10 min

Ingredients:

4-3/4 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Caraway Seeds
3 Tbsp Honey
1 Egg
1-1/2 cups Buttermilk
4 Tbsp Butter, Melted

Directions:

To a bowl add together your dry ingredients; the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well.

Add in the caraway seed and combine.

Now add in the honey, egg, and buttermilk. Stir it up until a dough just begins to form.

Add in the melted butter and knead dough until all ingredients are combined. Don't overknead.

Form into a ball and cut a few 1" slits at the top.

Place dough on a baking sheet and place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 50 min. to an hour.

Test with a toothpick in the center to assure loaf is cooked completely.