March 16, 2015
Irish soda bread has taken the lead over Guinness as my favorite St. Patrick’s Day treat. Earthy caraway seeds and sweet currants nestled into a biscuit-like dough has been in heavy rotation over here.
Especially for bread, this is extremely easy to prepare; no Kitchen Aid mixer, no kneading, and no waiting for the dough to rise. I do put one kitchen tool to use — my cheese grater creates the perfect size butter pieces to incorporate into the flour mixture.
I’ve noticed that Irish soda bread goes with almost everything and every meal. Breakfast; just add Irish butter and maybe a little pinch of sea salt. Lunch; tuck slices in a bread basket and serve with artichokes and hummus (Michelle, do you agree?). Teatime; spread some creamy triple cream or jam (or both!) for a delectable snack. Dinner is obvious; serve it with your stew or braised corned beef and cabbage.
Whatever is on that St. Patties Day menu try adding this Irish Soda Bread into the mix. It even works warm out of the oven served with a black and tan. Cheers! “Here’s to a wet night and a dry morning!” (Find my tried and true hangover tips here.)
Irish Soda Bread
Makes one small loaf, this is easily doubled
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 cup currants
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
2 eggs, divided
1/4 cup milk
Set oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, caraway seed and currants in a bowl. Carefully grate in the cold butter and mix with your hands to incorporate into the flour mixture. Beat 1 egg and add that along with the milk and stir gently with a wooden spoon – be sure not to over mix.
Shape the dough into a half dome and place it in a small cast iron pan. Make an “X” with a sharp knife on the top of the dough so it= leaves a mark. Whisk remaining egg and with a pastry brush, brush the egg over the top of the bread — you will have some the egg wash leftover.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly and pull apart where the quarters have been formed by the knife and smother with Irish butter, Kerrygold is a good choice. If you don’t eat it all immediately, cool the bread on a rack, then slice and serve.