Erin Go Bragh Soda Bread

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Erin Go Bragh Soda Bread

Like many Americans, I claim Irish heritage. Most of my family came to the U.S. via Newfoundland, which happens to be the most depressing place on the planet (sorry, Newfies). Having Irish heritage makes the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day a joyful obligation. Last night, my little family celebrated with the Irish American (not Irish) tradition of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. Today, we are visiting friends along the Chesapeake Bay. My offering for the gathering is an Irish soda bread. If you’re not drinking a Guinness while cooking Irish food, in my mind, it’s necessarily to “jig” around the kitchen. Mind you, I have no idea what I’m doing, but it’s a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. Also, it’s pretty poor form to drink Guinness at 9:00 a.m. if you’re not doing kegs and eggs. Ben thought I was insane dancing around, but he thoroughly enjoyed my clapping along with the St. Patrick’s Day Pandora that I set up. Ah, the joys of getting to be goofy for a 7-month old.

At long last, here’s the recipe that I used for the soda bread:

Irish Soda Bread with Golden Raisins

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tb baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup golden raisins (you can use red raisins, I just hate them)

Wash

  • 2 Tb unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

*Recipe for “making” buttermilk below

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a large cookie sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients and mix in the butter. You can cut it in with knives much like you would a pie, because the dough comes out somewhat like a pie crust.
  3. Mix in milk and buttermilk to combine. Stir in the golden raisins.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute.
  5. Form into a round loaf and cut a 1/4 inch deep cross into the top. Place on the greased cookie sheet.
  6. Brush with the wash and bake for 40-50 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and a tooth pick comes out clean. You can brush with the wash again halfway through

Buttermilk

Who really has buttermilk lying around? Plus, they sell it large containers and then you just need a cup or, alas, a tablespoon. You can use soured milk to mimic the effect of buttermilk, PLUS, you can make your recipes slightly healthier. Here’s what you do:

Take about a cup of milk (a little less) and add a tablespoon of white vinegar. Let it sit for a minute and VOILA! buttermilk. Brilliance!

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