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“Irish Soda Bread”

I’m 1/8 Irish.

I couldn’t let St. Patrick’s Day go by without a nod. It is beloved by so many after all. It’s a passport to drink a month’s worth of beer in one day. And to wear buttons demanding to be kissed.

But I can’t say it’s a holiday that celebrates my favorite foods.

I thought about what to make for a while… and couldn’t bring myself to negotiate with green food coloring. It ain’t my style.

Corned beef and cabbage? It’s probably my favorite of the choices, but “eh.”

Grandma Pellegrini suggested Irish Soda Bread.

I decided she was right. In the same email (we converse a lot over email, we’re very modern like that) she also gave me a list entitled “My Favorite Green Foods.” It said:

Pea Soup (I make it with split peas, then add petite peas and mint)
Green (Spinach) Lasagna or Pesto with some type of green Pasta
Brussels Sprouts (maybe with parsnips, an Irish favorite)
Green Salad (endless possibilities)
Pistachio Ice Cream
Irish Coffee to top it off (with green whipped cream)

So if you’re not interested in my Irish Soda Bread, Grandma P. has some stellar alternatives.

These are some of the things you will need.

I ran out of white flour so I threw in some whole wheat at the end and kept my fingers crossed.

I do that a lot with baking. It’s a constant tug of war between my inner wild child and the type-A precision required to be a baker. On any given day, you never know who will win — Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.

Q: Do you know what the difference is between baking soda and baking powder?

A: They are both leavening agents, but baking powder contains baking soda (pure sodium bicarbonate) in addition to cream of tartar and some sort of starch.

That’s my science tutorial for the week.

And just because I can’t help myself, and it’s Friday, and I’m feeling wise, and because I love ya, here’s one more… see that bit of salt in my palm?

Well, if you cup your palm and put salt in the little pocket, that always equals 1 teaspoon of salt. It’s true. Go try it!

Now where was I…

Ah yes, RAW sugar. Because it’s crunchy and makes baked goods more intriguing than your regular run of the mill sugar.

Some softened butter, or in my case, I used Earth Balance. Because that’s the kind of mood I was in.

In case you couldn’t tell… Mr. Hyde is winning here…

And then I used my favorite mixing tool…

Hands. It’s awfully fun to get your hands in there and really feel what’s going on. I’m just sayin’.

(Mr. Hyde…)

A little egg…

A little buttermilk that’s been sitting in my fridge since last June…

(Just kidding).

(Sort of).

Mix ‘er in…

And then I uncovered some prunes in the cabinet… and because I was feeling wild as you know…

Yup.

Then I combined it all into one nice ball.

Melted some butter and buttermilk and painted it on to give it a nice golden glossy look…

Then scored it with a big X.

Be careful not to over-score. I always over-score. I love to over-score. So sometimes I just do. But it will make your loaf look a bit strange.

I’m just warning you, since that’s what I’m here for.

It’s basically like a giant scone. A little crusty, a little soft.

And there my friends, is your Irish Soda Bread.

Oh, and if you’re Irish: *mwah*

“Irish Soda Bread”

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 1 glossy loaf

“Irish Soda Bread”

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or Earth Balance, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped prunes
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Mix in the prunes.
  3. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 2 tablespoons buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. For an extra glossy look, continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.
http://georgiapellegrini.com/2010/03/12/recipes/irish-soda-bread/

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Comments

  1. Grandma says:

    Seems like you could sneak in a bit more whole wheat flour in proporton to the white; you do want to keep us healthy don't you… Or maybe it wouldn't be Irish soda bread any more.

  2. Georgia says:

    Yes, then it would be just bread, not Irish bread.

  3. "mwah" back :) I use Earth Balance all the time but I have never baked with it.Thanks, the soda bread will go good with my corn beef.Actually I'm making pastrami so I can use it for sandwiches.

  4. Bill Gray says:

    Very timely blogging. Doris is going to do your Soda Bread for a St.Patty's Bridge Party she's hosting. Wish her luck.

  5. I feel like I've missed so much since I last had a chance to comment! I'll try to catch up quickly….can I go back to The Road to Grandma's? The snow was amazing as you saw firsthand, with all the rain we had over the weekend I think the chickens are now doing the backstroke. I am so happy that I had a chance to meet and talk to you, I hope I didn't seem too "star struck" :) I am working on a recipe for Outdoors the kitchen. The day after I had a conversation about wild pigs overrunning the south with um…..I'm guessing one of the " persons who shall remain nameless", your recipe for bacon showed up. Very timely, how do you do that? The thin crust pizza looks delicious, send me a slice. Hells chicken wings are now on my to do list…I had a similar experience with the wild dreams but, it involved late night chili and tabasco sauce! My dad had a great recipe for Irish Soda bread, I will give yours a try….I can't believe I missed out on a kiss!…is it too late to get one for St Patty's day:)

    • Georgia says:

      Ray! It's great to see you here. I'm looking forward to your recipe in The Kitchen… and I'm awefully curious about your grandmother's soda bread recipe. I hear another storm just swept through your neck of the woods, and trees went down like dominos!

  6. Grandma says:

    I've just emerged frm 4 days without power after that week-end wind storm; left with an empty refrigerator except for (magicaly) the exact ingredients for this recipie. So here goes: I'm about to make Irish Soda bread for the first time in my life. . and it's still St.Patrick's Day !

    • Georgia says:

      Thrilling! Did you get to work on your pioneer skills while you had no power?

      • Grandma says:

        Oh yes; Inventing baricades for the wwndows that kept blowing open;three cats for bed-warmers;batteries for radio and flash-lights. Mother Nature came to my rescue on Monday and Tuesday with beautiful sun-light and warm air

        • Grandma says:

          P.S. What I miissed most was not being able to cook; so much in the fridge and pantry but no power in my electric kitchen. Georgia, You have re-ignited my enthusiasum for cooking; now my favorite pastime

          • Georgia says:

            Wow, that makes me very happy. You're one of the best cooks I know so I'm glad you're doing more of it now! And I'm glad you put your pioneer skills to good use while you had no power. It's a good thing to do every once in a while.