No, madge, it's not terrible because most people think of the Americanized soda bread, sweetened and full of raisins, nuts, and/or spices. Irish soda bread is like most Irish food in that it is peasant food. White soda bread contains just four ingredient: flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. That's it. No eggs, no sugar, no butter.
Speaking of butter, I was disappointed to find that my local grocery store had no buttermilk. So what's a girl who loves a project to do? Make butter and buttermilk. And let me tell you, without a stand mixer it is definitely a PROJECT. I had a quart of heavy cream and split it into quarters in tupperware containers and shook in front of the season finale of Jersey Shore (merp) until I got about 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk and 1 3/4 cup of butter. I added a pinch of salt and a little honey and stashed it in my freezer so it wouldn't go bad.
|Homemade Butter and Buttermilk!|
Irish Soda Bread
3 1/4 cups flour (plus some for kneading)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup for whole loaf, 1/2 cup for half loaf
1 tablespoon flour per cup of raisins
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda thoroughly to incorporate the baking soda. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk. Mix with a fork. If you are splitting the dough, this is the time to do it!
Dust your workspace with flour and lightly knead your dough. Do not over knead, be gentle!
Form into a round loaf and place on a baking sheet. Cut in the tradition X-mark with a butter knife, about 1/2 inches deep.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375 F for two loaves, about 40-50 minutes for a single loaf. The bread will be done when you knock on the bottom and it sounds hollow.
Serve preferably the same day or the next day. I topped my slices with Irish cheddar and a little honey, but I showed my Irish side (pride?) by eating it plain with butter and LOVING it! Maybe it was because I felt accomplished since it was my own butter . . . Happy St Patrick's Day!