Irish Soda Bread…

This St. Paddy’s day, things didn’t go as planned.  With our day extending longer than planned with our activities, we overshot coming back home. I needed at least 6 hours cooking time for our dinner, so instead we went out to get sushi.  I had the brisket brining so an extra day never hurts. Today we had it instead.  It might have been fate, since the brisket was so unbelievably flavorful.

To go along with the usual corned beef and cabbage, I wanted to make Irish Soda Bread.  I’ve been meaning to make this for a while, but just never got around to it. Now it was time to see what the fuss was about.

It’s a quick bread, so it uses no yeast.  This is great for the usual “dinner bread” because it only requires cooking time, plus the negligible prep time. With the occasional raisin here or there, this bread will be flavorful with the surprise sweet bite every now and then.

I baked it in the cast iron skillet so it would have a nice firm bottom crust and the entire baking environment around it would be optimal, similar to a brick oven in terms of heat retention.

Just some orange marmalade glazed corned beef hanging around.  Just waiting for a nice starchy companion…

This will make a nice companion. With a perfect soft, slightly crumbly texture, this bread was perfect to go along with the dinner, and helped sop up the vegetable water on the bottom of the bowl.  Just perfect!

Irish Soda Bread

4 c all-purpose flour
3 T sugar
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t cream of tartar
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted
1 cup raisins or currants

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in buttermilk with half the butter and mix well until a shaggy dough forms.  Add the raisins and get your hands involved now, mixing the dough thoroughly and kneading lightly.  Consistency should be typical of a well-kneaded dough: dry enough to not stick to your hands yet soft enough to be easily deformed.

Place in skillet in a large disk but not flattened. Slice an “X” over the top. Bake for about 40-45 minutes.  Skewer to see if the middle is no longer gooey.  Remove and pour the remaining butter and brush it evenly along the crust.  Slice and try not to pig out.

*next up…Black Bean Chili…*


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