Hello, March!...and an Irish Tribute....Sorta....

Monday, March 01, 2010

In honor of March, I made some Irish Soda Bread. I found this recipe in a free edition of the magazine Bon Appetit I received, and it assured the reader (me) this was the 'best' in Ireland. I figured they were telling the truth since they want me to now purchase this magazine monthly.
It's my first attempt at Soda Bread, in fact, I can't really remember eating soda bread before-I can't imagine this possibility, but...there it is-a bread I don't remember trying before today. I like thematic things, so it seemed like March, with St Patrick's Day looming, was the right time to try it out b/c I've wanted to try it for awhile (again, this makes no sense b/c I don't have prior experience with it to want to have anything to do with it, but....it is bread, how bad could it be?).
I CAN honestly say it's the best Irish Soda Bread I've ever made (don't think too deeply on that one). I don't know how it's supposed to taste, but this is 'wheaty and sweet(y)' bread. (If the travel brochure people don't call me, I'll start writing cookbook recipes....with an arsenal of adjectives like this....they'll be banging down my door....).
As I was eating-I imagined I could taste the little 'peas' of butter, and kernels of brown sugar in it, but nobody ever accused me of a lack of imagination, so...it could have been my imagination. It's was crusty on the outside, and doughy (but not in a raw way) on the inside. It's a pretty heavy bread, and it taste great with butter....or in some cases-I like a little bread with my butter-so butter taste great with this bread....too.
Anyway, I'm willing to experiment, so if someone has a better 'Irish Soda Bread' recipe...I'm am willing to be a guinea pig....no emphasis intended on the word 'pig.' I have no idea if this is good 'Soda Bread' or not compared to it's competition, but I'll be keeping the recipe, and I'd make it again-I imagine it'd be great with cheese, and fruits....I wonder what sort of fruit, and cheese Irish people eat? Can you still be "Irish People" if your family moved to American over 200 years ago? What if your Mom is a redhead? What if you have made Irish Soda Bread that a magazine said is the best in Ireland, and it's sitting in your kitchen? I'm off to write the Visa People upon this point and the possibility of dual citizenship. ...and then figure out what nationality I want to celebrate/be in April. In the meantime...here is the recipe I used for this...ummm...(authenticity to be determined, but) Christy approved (I have low standards for bread, but it was good to me)...Irish Soda Bread....P.s. How easy is THIS recipe?
Mrs. O'Callaghan's Soda Bread
1. With a whisk, mix 3 c. all-purpose flour, 3 c. wheat flour, 1 t. Baking Soda, 1/2 c. packed brown sugar.
2. Add 1/4 c. cold margarine cut into small cubes. Use a dough 'cutter' and cut the butter into the bread until the pieces of butter are about the size of a pea.
3. Add 2 c. buttermilk. Stir until dough is a shaggy texture (I took this literally, check out the photo-I think I should work a little more on step 3 and 4).
4. Knead about 10 times on a floured surface (until it comes together). I had to do a bit more kneading than ten times.
5. Place on a heavy, sprayed pan. Cut a cross in the top (about 1/2 inch deep), and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 40 minutes (until bread is a deep brown, and the bottom has a hollow sound when tapped-I ignored this step).

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