Sorry, this post is so late today. It was my day off, so naturally I’d crammed 825,916 things to do into one day. Whew! It was rough. But, I got it all done and now I’m finally getting around to this post. Yesterday, I shared our Crockpot Guiness Beef Stew. This, traditional Irish bread was what I served with it. It was a perfect compliment and great at absorbing the rich broth left at the bottom of our bowls. Not a drop, or a crumb, went to waste! No ‘luck of the Irish’ needed with this one. This dough is perfect for anyone, especially beginners, looking for a simple bread recipe that won’t bog you down with just the right amount of kneading or planning around rise times. There’s no yeast involved & no need to knead. Spread some butter over a warm slice or serve it up with your favorite stew.
Irish Soda Bread
recipe originally from Fine Cooking
1 lb. (3-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups buttermilk
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly flour a large rimmed baking sheet.
2. Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large, wide mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in 1-1/2 cups of the buttermilk. Stir with one hand, fingers apart, moving in circles to incorporate the buttermilk into the dry ingredients. If necessary, add more buttermilk 1 Tbs. at a time until the dough just barely comes together. (The absorption rate varies depending on the brand of flour.) The dough should be soft—don’t overwork it.
3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat into a round about 6-3/4 inches in diameter and 1-1/2 inches high in the center. Invert the round so the floured side is on top. With a thin, sharp knife, score a cross on the dough about 1/4 inch deep and extending fully from one side to the other.
4. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F and bake until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, another 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Cool to room temperature on a rack, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.
*Though it’s not traditionally Irish, you can add 3 oz. raisins with the dry ingredients, or experiment with add-ins like freshly chopped herbs, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, or chocolate chips.