Classic Irish Soda Bread

How we would love to go to Ireland! Or at least back to Finn McCool’s Irish Pub in New Orleans where there is pub quiz every night and HammerTime, the legendary line up of Steve, Kim, Jeremy, Kristen, and Rachel who used to face off against the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Finn McClueless, the Fighting Pacifists, and Erin Go’Braughless. Steve and Pauline, we miss you!

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I’m staring at four Irish Soda bread recipes in a row; my week looks verdigris indeed.

Classic Irish Soda Bread
Makes One 7 inch Round Loaf

Baking Illustrated

3 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 cup pastry flour or cake flour
2 tbsp. Sugar
1 ½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 ½ tsp. Baking Soda
1 ½ tsp. Salt
2 tbsp. Melted Butter
1 ½ cups Buttermilk

Combine all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt. Stir in butter with a fork until in very small particles. Add the buttermilk. Stir gently with a fork but thoroughly until all flour is moistened.

Scrape dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead five times. Gather into a ball and place on a lightly greased cake round. Using a sharp knife, make a large cross (score) on the top of the loaf to allow for expansion. Bake at 400ºF for 40 minutes, until loaf is browned and sounds hollow when tapped, or when it has reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees.

Remove from oven and place on a rack. Brush with melted butter. Allow to cool before slicing.

I’ll give it 3.5 stars. Cream of tar-tar—I can’t decide whether the ingredient sounds chi-chi poo-poo or like a planet in Star Trek. First time I’ve ever used it! Both KP and I were looking for tartar sauce at the grocery store, and an older woman kindly guided us to the baking aisle. Just like baking soda. The dough tasted REALLY good (I would give the dough five stars). The hardest part was not kneading the bread but still shaping it into a round loaf. I should have used more flour, because when I turned it out onto the board, it was still sticky and lumpy. It gummed between my fingers, all up in my wedding ring, and it was hard to smooth it without kneading. I’ll try to be even lighter of touch next time. Also, I am surprised how much soda bread tastes like corn bread. I think it’s the buttermilk, which also yellows the loaf a bit, but the bread tastes great with marinara or for wiping sauce off the plates of eggplant parmigiana… Also, MAJOR thanks to Greg Wiseman who last night at Beer Church gave me a copy of Flatbreads and Flavors, a book of bread recipes from around the world! I may sneak in a naan soon!

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