Sunday, July 29, 2007

post party irish soda bread

last night was the big birthday bash ... which has nothing to do at all with Irish soda bread, but I thought I'd mention it nonetheless. The Olive Garden, 6 teenagers, two glasses of wine (for me), acres of pasta, a very large bill and one chocolate bar-cake later ... well, the survival instinct kicks in, doesn't it? I've also sworn to no longer refer here to my new "young man" as a "man child" ... from now on it will be just ... young man. I asked, what is the greatest thing about turning 17? He's not exactly sure, except somewhat likes the idea that now he can go to R-rated movies on the up and up. You mean, I said, you no longer have to sneak in to see The 300 when you paid for Harry Potter? Exactly. They think we don't know these things, you know.

At the end of the night, us grown ups fell into bed snoring away, much too partied out, all that cake and pasta and giggling being too much to handle, and the "children" went off to the movies. This morning, two teenage boys are strewn across two living room couches, still snoring away at 10 a.m.!

I, getting my due rest, was up quite early this morning (7 something, what with dogs and cats and parrots and roosters to feed) and decided to make a loaf of Irish soda bread, and thought I'd include you, dear friends, in on it ... so here it is.

First I made myself a nice cup of tea (always required) .... then I began: Preheat oven to 375!

2 cups of unbleached white flour and 2 cups of stone ground wheat flour
2 tspns baking powder
2 tspns baking soda
2 tspns organic, raw sugar (honey is fine, too)
1 tspn salt
2 tablespoons corn starch

whisk it all together ... I like to use a flat bottomed, plastic bowl .... that way, I do the whole process in the bowl and clean up is a snap! I am by no means a cook or baker at all, but this one thing, I've got down to a rather fuzzy science!

Add 2 cups of low-fat buttermilk and combine the dry and wet ingredients with a spatula... squishing it all together until well combined and has a sort of "chunky" texture... like this....

Note: It's best not to handle the dough too much, as this is a heavy farm-style bread, and over mixing will end up with a springy texture that just doesn't do it justice.

Here's the only messy part: Shape the dough into a round mound sort of thing (sorry, you will need to use your hands here) and finish with a dusting of flour.

Using a sharp knife, make a cross on the top. (Sort of like a hot, cross bun!)

Place on a cookie sheet that's been very lightly buttered with a thin sprinkling of flour over it. Stick it in the oven for 40 minutes. When you pull it out, wrap it immediately with a towel and place on a cooling rack. I wrap it in a paper towel and over that I wrap it up with a kitchen towel. This keeps the crust from becoming as hard as a rock and breaking everyone's teeth! Let it cool about 10 or 20 minutes.
Then, slice it warm, its really to die for with butter (I know what you're thinking; So What ISN'T to die for with butter!) You're right. Nothing, except dirt, possibly! The crust texture should be "crusty" ... but not like a piece of bark ... that's why the towel part is important! This is a wonderful, hearty bread. Great with bean soup or stew or even for sandwiches! Easy to make, quick and you can put it on in the morning and have fresh, warm, farm-bread with breakfast!

Hope you enjoy it!
Happy Sunday! ~L


FrostingsNSparkles said...

Ah, REAL soda bread :D None of that raisins and carraway seeds nonsense! YUMMY!! Thanks for visiting me :)


Stephanie said...

That looks awesome!!

dede warren said...

OM Gosh that looks goooood! as does the new hair cut! Nice photo, and yes, I agree much perkier!