I’ve been thinking a lot about bread lately, and hoping to make more of it at home. An easy start is Irish Soda bread, which is actually more cake then bread. The quick dough is leavened with baking soda (thus its name), and the classic is very simple, a white or whole-wheat flour bread with a soft crumb and noticeable flavor from the baking soda. The version most Americans are familiar with is more like this recipe, and includes sugar, egg, sweet currants or raisins, and caraway seed. Buttermilk helps keep the bread moist and gives a nice tart flavor.
I’ve also become really fond of the German habit of eating muesli in the morning and I thought adding it to the bread would make a nice flavor addition. Sort of my German spin on the Irish tradition.
This post is coming a bit late for Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day, but luckily Irish Soda bread is incredibly easy to make – mixing and baking takes all of an hour. Of course, if you don’t have time this weekend, it’s delicious anytime of year. Enjoy!
Irish Soda Bread, adapted from the New York Times
Serving: 1 loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, cubed
2/3 cup buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
2/3 cup raisins
1½ teaspoons caraway seeds
1/2 cup museli
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut in the cubed butter until a sandy mixture forms. Break up any large pieces of butter with you fingers. Add in the buttermilk and egg and mix until a shaggy dough forms. Stir in the raisins, caraway seeds, and museli.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured workspace and knead for a few turns, until the dough forms into a nice ball. Place rounded dough on a lined baking tray. Use kitchen sheers or a sharp knife to mark an X in the center off the dough, brush the top with buttermilk, and dust gently in flour.
Bake for 50 minutes, until it is a deep brown. The bottom should sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to a rack and cool completely. Enjoy with a large smear of rich Irish butter.