Friday, January 15, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

This is the best Irish soda bread you will ever taste, I promise!  This is also the easiest recipe I have ever made and I think everyone should try it.  Let me know if you agree with me!
Irish Soda Bread
From a McCall's March 1996 recipe

3 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place a piece of parchment on a baking sheet or spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside 1 teaspoon of flour.  Also, set aside a couple more tablespoons flour for kneading at the end. 

Sift three cups of flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt into a large bowl.  With pastry blender or 2 knives used scissors fashion, cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in raisins and anise seed, toss until raisins are coated with flour.  Pour in buttermilk; stir with fork until dough comes together.  Knead in bowl 8-10 times, with your hands, sprinkling a little flour onto dough to keep it from sticking to your hands.  (This can also be done on a lightly floured kitchen counter.)   Transfer dough to parchment lined baking sheet and pat into a 6-inch round (does not need to be exact).  Sift remaining 1 teaspoon flour over the top of the loaf.  With a serrated knife, use a sawing motion to cut 1-inch-deep by 4-inch-long X across top of loaf.  This part is optional. (I actually forgot to do it in this example!)  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until bread is golden and sounds hollow when top is tapped.  Cool on rack.