Monday, March 16, 2015

Recipe: Irish Soda Bread

irish soda bread recipe
While St. Patrick's Day is not a grand affair in the part of Canada I live in, I figured there'd be no better time to try one of the Irish recipes featured on Specifically, I'd had my eye on Brennan's Irish Soda Bread, a quick and simple recipe that intriguingly called for no yeast, butter, or oil. Furthermore, it had 4.5/5 stars and close to 90 overwhelmingly positive reviews.

I followed the original recipe exactly:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
irish soda bread ingredients
The first task was to make "buttermilk" by mixing the milk and vinegar, then allowing it to stand for 10 minutes ("until curdled" said the recipe...though if you don't see any curdling action, don't worry, I didn't either). Alternatively, other reviewers of the recipe used real buttermilk.
homemade buttermilk
While waiting on the mysterious curdling, I mixed the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
irish soda bread recipe
I added the "buttermilk" and stirred until it was well-mixed. As the dough was very sticky, I heeded others' suggestions to simply stir it a few extra times instead of attempting to knead it "a few times" on a floured surface, as the recipe suggests.
irish soda bread recipe
I dumped the dough in a rough ball shape in the centre of a non-stick baking sheet and cut an "x" into the top with a knife (to help release steam and so help the dough to keep its round shape).
irish soda bread recipe
I baked the dough at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.

I've got to say, for my first attempt at making a loaf of bread and for how simple this recipe was, I was impressed when I opened the oven to find what resembled a beautiful golden-brown rustic loaf of bread.
irish soda bread recipe
Slicing the bread, I found that it was nice and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. Not soft like French bread though -- denser and a bit mealy, more like a scone.
irish soda bread recipe
The bread tasted very nice -- slightly sweet, but not so much that it couldn't be enjoyed with savoury toppings (I made a great grilled cheese sandwich with it for lunch today...that tasted like a cheese scone). Many Irish soda bread recipes call for raisins, so perhaps that's what I'll have to try next (despite not being particularly fond of raisins, raisin bread I'll go out of my way for). In the meantime, I'll be enjoying what remains of this loaf straight up (microwaved slightly as a feeble attempt to recreate its fresh-from-the-oven deliciousness).

Have you made Irish soda bread before? Any recommendations for what it goes well with?

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