Irish Soda Bread
The staple of Irish bakeries, this thick bread sports a nice, almost crunchy crust with a soft, but firm interior, and a slightly sweet flavor ideal for butter and jam, or dipping in a nice stew.
- 4 cups of flour
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups of buttermilk
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt.
- Cut the butter into small pieces and stir them into the dry ingredients until mixed well.
- In a second bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk.
- Sir in the buttermilk/egg mixture into the dry ingredients until they are moistened and liquids have been absorbed.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place your dough on the baking sheet in a large circle or oval roughly 4-5 inches high.
- Cut a 1/2-inch slit on the top.
- Bake the bread 35-40 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test.
- Remove from oven and allow bread to cool on a wire rack for roughly an hour.
Make sure the butter is well blended, but not totally mixed in. The butter will form moisture pockets that will make your bread lighter and more pillowy.
Best to stir the dry/wet ingredients together with a spoon or spatula that has been moistened with water. This will keep your dough from sticking to the spoon or spatula.
I personally prefer to make Artisan-style bread on a sheet, but many will also bake their bread in a cake pan. I did originally try a loaf pan, but ended up with an unevenly-baked bread that had a heavy taste of baking soda. Be careful if you want to try a loaf pan.
Many will increase the sugar to 1/2 a cup and add in raisins, making it more a dessert. I've actually substitued Stevia In The Raw for the sugar on one attempt and had success.
The flour you can also variate. Try spelt flour for less carbs, or use three cups of whole wheat flour with one cup of all-purpose flour for a whole wheat bread.
This bread is wondrous warm with a nice butter spread on it, or with your favorite jelly/jam/preserves. It also works nicely with any thick stew or soup you desire.
If your bread becomes stale, try heating it up for a minute in the microwave to soften, then toast in a toaster oven for added crunch.