For the month of September Meredith from the Poco Loco Olsons challenged us to experiment with soda bread. I’ve never tasted Irish Soda Bread and certainly have never attempted to make it until now. I chose Ina Garten’s Irish Soda Bread because it was a sweet version and how could you go wrong with an Ina Garten recipe?
The dough came together nicely with Ina’s (she lets me call her Ina) instructions and it made a very sticky batter – almost like a cookie dough consistency, but stickier. After dumped onto a well-floured board and shaped, the dough was easier to manipulate into a round loaf.
If you don’t want as many cracks as I had in mine, form it into a smoother loaf before baking. I kind of liked the cracks – it made me feel like the bread was more artisan (ooh-la-la). It ended up as a beautifully risen loaf, which was surprising since it doesn’t have yeast in it.
The texture was wonderful. It was dense, but very tender and very delicious. I always thought Irish Soda Bread would be a rough texture, dry and a little salty, but was I wrong! It was hard to stop eating it so I could take photos. It will make a great breakfast bread – toasted with a little slab of butter melted on it. I added about a tablespoon more sugar than the original recipe (sorry Ina) as well as a teaspoon of cinnamon. The cinnamon and orange zest, along with the raisins, really made this a tasty bread.
The Daring Bakers may not always be technically challenging, but it consistently introduces me to baked goods I’ve never considered making. This will continue to be made in my kitchen and I’m still amazed it doesn’t have yeast in it! I can see putting different dried fruits in it since the texture reminds me somewhat of a stollen. Easy to throw together with a great result!
- 4 C all-purpose flour , plus extra for raisins and dough turnout
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 4 tbsp cold butter , cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1 3/4 C cold buttermilk , shaken
- 1 extra-large egg , lightly beaten
- 1 tsp grated orange zest
- 1 C raisins
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a small bowl. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the raisins with 1 tbsp. of flour and mix into the dough. The dough will be very wet.
Spread about 1/4 C. flour evenly onto a board and dump the mixture onto it. Knead it a few times until manageable and then shape into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap on the loaf it will have a hollow sound. Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tips and Stuff:
The original recipe calls for currants, but my local grocery store doesn't carry them. Raisins worked great.
When you add the diced butter to the flour mixture, keep the pieces separated and sprinkle them around. That way they integrate better than in one big clump.
The dough is very sticky, but roll it around a minute in the flour on the board and it will come together. Don't overwork it.
I used the zest of a medium orange (then ate the orange with dinner, because there's nothing sadder than looking at a naked orange in your refrigerator).