Classic Irish Soda Bread

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What would St. Patrick’s Day be without some Classic Irish Soda Bread? I’ve got a great recipe for to share with you today that will tell you how to bake up a gorgeous golden brown loaf with a fabulous, crisp craggy crust and a dense yet moist center. Perfect to serve along with your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

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Soda bread does not utilize yeast as a leavening agent, so there is no rising time required. It is the carbon dioxide which is produced from the reaction of buttermilk and baking soda that lightens the loaf. That being said, it is so very easy to make. You can literally mix it together in no time flat. And a loaf of Irish soda bread just would not be complete without having that cross cut into the top. I’ve heard various reasons as to why you do this. Some say it helps the bread cook evenly. I’ve also heard it is done as a blessing to keep the devil away. My favourite reason is that you cut a cross in to allow the fairies to escape! Your guess is as good as mine as to what they were doing in there in the first place, but there you have it.

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Around St. Patrick’s Day, here in the States you will often find stores carrying a sweet Irish soda bread which is shot through with raisins and has sugar sprinkled over the top. I definitely like that version. When I first started this blog I did share a recipe for just such a sweet soda bread loaf.

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Yum right? However, there is one incarnation of this bread that I do not care for. Sometime folks add those dreaded caraway seeds to the loaf along with the currents or raisins. OMG – I REALLY dislike it when those little demon seeds are added into the mix. I’ve been told that both the raisins and caraway seeds are a more Americanized versions of soda bread. The recipe I’m sharing today for Classic Irish Soda bread is closer to what you would actually find in Ireland. It has one cup of cake flour in addition to the all purpose flour because Irish flour is more finely milled than the all purpose flour found here in the States. This bread is only slightly sweet and has a sprinkling of sea salt flakes over the top. The crust is crispy crunchy with a nice chew to it. This bread is simply amazing slathered with butter – like Kerry Gold for instance. So what are you waiting for? Bake up a loaf or two of this Classic Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day this year. I promise you won’t regret it.

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Classic Irish Soda Bread

recipe from: Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • teaspoons cream of tartar
  • teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted

Directions:

Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat oven to 400° F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Work the softened butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or your fingertips until the texture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork just until the dough begins to come together. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead just until the dough becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until the dough is smooth, or the bread will turn out tough.)
Pat the dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Score the dough by cutting a cross shape on the top of the loaf.
Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, or the internal temperature reaches 180° F on an instead-read thermometer, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and brush the surface with the melted butter and sprinkle with flaked sea salt if desired. Cool to room temperature before slicing, about 30 to 40 minutes. Leftovers should be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Enjoy!
Classic Irish Soda Bread brought to you today by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Classic Irish Soda Bread:
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks
Silicone Pastry Brush Set

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