Thursday, September 23, 2010
Irish Soda Bread
There's something immensely satisfying about baking your own bread. I've always wanted to try it and yesterday morning, feeling inspired (and craving old-fashioned toast and strawberry jam for breakfast), I decided to give it a go.
I used an incredibly easy recipe from Alice Waters' book "In the Green Kitchen" for Irish soda bread and voila! I had a fresh, steaming loaf cooling on my kitchen counter in under an hour. Seriously. It was that easy. Since it was my first time, I kept a wary eye on the oven the entire time it was baking and took it out about five minutes too early thinking the crust was getting a bit too brown for my liking; it turned out fine, but just a little too doughy. I would recommend relaxing with a good book while it's in the oven and letting it be for the entire baking time.
Looks good, doesn't it? Weekend project! Let me know how it turns out. xo
Irish Soda Bread
Adapted from "In the Green Kitchen," by Alice Waters
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Measure the flour, salt, and baking soda and put them through a sieve into a large bowl. Run your fingers through the flour to lift and aerate it. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. To mix the buttermilk into the flour, use the fingers of one hand, stiff and outstretched, and stir in a big circle, working from the center out. The dough should be soft, but not sticky; add a bit more buttermilk if needed. In a few turns, you will have a moist shaggy dough.
Rinse your hands, and turn the dough out onto a floured board. Gently roll and pat it into a tidy round shape about 2 inches high. Don't knead the dough; it will make it tough. Put the ball of dough onto a baking sheet. Cut a deep cross in the loaf from side to side and poke a hole in each quarter. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 400 F, and continue baking for another 25 to 30 minutes, until crusty and browned. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool on a wire rack.