Irish Soda Bread

I have lots of recipes I’ve been wanting to share with y’all. Lots of pictures I’ve taken, all ready to be typed up and posted up here for you to stick away and have, when needed. However, I’ve realized two things:

1. Blogging recipes takes a really long time.

2. I’m not a photographer.

So here is how this is going to go down. I want to share recipes. I don’t have time to set my camera to manual mode, stop every few moments while cooking or baking, snap away, adjust, snap some more, adjust angle and settings, snap some more, upload pictures to computer, edit said pictures and then upload large files to blog and finally write the recipe. Ain’t gonna happen.

What will actually happen, is me taking pictures on iPhone, edit pictures on iPhone (while in carpool line), email pictures to self and save to iPad. Type up blog and insert pictures while more than likely, sitting in carpool line, or at baseball practice. This is manageable. So that’s how it’s going to go down. Will my pictures be perfect and super high resolution? No. But they wouldn’t have been with all those other steps either. I think ultimately this will benefit both of us, my life is easier, you get more recipes. Done. And yes, I like Apple.

Onward. I’m generally not a big fluff holiday sort of person. I consider Valentine’s, Halloween, and St. Patrick’s Day in that category. However, we happen to be Irish. I mean, my last name is Kelly, my mother in laws maiden name is Kennedy, and there is a whole lot of red hair in the family. My side has a good bit of Irish too. So to me, St. Patrick’s day is about more than wearing green, it’s about heritage.

Since culture and food go hand in hand for me, every year I make an Irish meal. We have had corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, all things with Guinness, and this bread. Always, this bread. This year I’ll be making stew with Guinness and my Irish Car Bomb cupcakes (chocolate stout cupcakes with Bailey’s buttercream), and this bread.

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Technically speaking, this bread isn’t exactly Irish. But, I’m American, and aren’t we all about messing with other countries food? Besides, my changes make it really, really good. Plus I serve it with Kerrygold Irish butter, and that makes it all better. If you haven’t tried that stuff, you need to…it will change your bread eating life. You can buy it in bulk at Costco, which I do…because bread isn’t the same without it.

This recipe is super easy, mindless really. I love quick breads for that reason. The hardest part is cutting in the butter. I start with a pastry cutter to do this, but always switch to my hands. It does a better job, and I like the feel and texture of it. If you don’t mind dirtying extra dishes, you could use your food processor for this, it takes all of 30 seconds to pulse in the butter.

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I often don’t have buttermilk on hand, so instead, I use whole milk and fill it up just about a tablespoon from the top of the measuring cup, and add vinegar to fill it. Let it sit a bit and it will curdle and thicken the milk. Add the buttermilk into the dough and mix until just combined (if you go the food processor route be VERY carefully to not over mix it!). The more you mix it, the tougher the dough will be

Here’s the point where I take it a bit off track. I add currants and caraway. This is quite rare in Ireland. Even stateside, most people add raisins. I am a raisin hater, and I had currants laying around from this incredible bourbon currant sauce I make for bread pudding. If you don’t hate raisins, then add those, but the currants are worth a try! Mine were a little dry having sat in the pantry for awhile, so I soaked them in Irish whiskey and warm water for a bit while I whipped up the bread. Whiskey makes everything better, right?

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Mix in the currants and caraway until just incorporated and then shape it into a ball and place in a lightly greased cake pan.

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Get excited, and do a little happy dance, because you are less than an hour away from eating really fantastic bread. Unless you don’t dance over food, and the a maybe just smile a bit while I do the jig.

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After baking for 40 minutes, remove from over and let sit in pan for another 10 minutes. Do something to distract yourself. Do the dishes, check your email, take a walk. Then cut into this incredibly decadent loaf and slather it with butter. The sweet and salty in combination with the caraway….we already ate this loaf all in one sitting and I’m about ready to make up another one. In the name of St. Patrick of course.

Irish Soda Bread

adapted from Bon Apetit

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 TBS sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 TBS chilled butter cut up
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup currants
1 TBS caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 375. Spray cake pan with oil (Trader Joe’s makes spray coconut oil, which I use).

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter, or hands (or as mentioned above, food processor). Slowly add buttermilk and stir until just combined. Incorporate caraway and currants.

Shape into a ball and place into cake pan. Sprinkle the top with sugar.

Bake 40 minutes, then let rest in pan for another 10. Serve warm or room temperature, with Kerrygold Irish butter.

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