Friday, March 22, 2013

Irish Soda Bread & City Vistas

I may not have posted this in time for St. Paddy's Day, but I definitely made it and ate it in time for the holiday. 
 I love continually exploring the city in which I live. Last weekend we had some pretty, if a bit cool, weather so I trundled across the bridge to Fort Baker and took some photos as I strolled. 
I also love a good carrier for warm butter and jam so endeavored to make my first loaf of soda bread. I kind of merged two different recipes to make this, in an effort to use up a variety of ingredients that I have laying around (bread flour, currants, golden raisins). The bread was easy and tasty and I'm not usually one to say this, but it was almost nice when it got a little stale because it meant that I could slice it and toast it and bring it back to life with some butter and a nice dollop of homemade apricot preserves - mmmm.
 To make: Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Pour a cup of boiling water of 1 cup of raisins and/or currants, let sit. Combine 4 cups bread flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl. Cut in 1/2 stick chilled butter.In a separate bowl beat together 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, 1 large egg, and the zest of 1 orange. Slowly add the wet mixture into the dry, stirring until combined. Dough will be wet/sticky. Drain the currants and then add them into the dough. Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead a few times. Shape into a round, place on the prepared baking sheet and cut a plus sign into the top of the dough. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and has a hollow sound to it. Best eaten with lots of butter. P.S. I would have loved to put caraway seeds in this but I didn't have any and Trader Joe's doesn't carry them. . . and that's where my industriousness petered out.
 For Ina Garten's version of this recipe click here.

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