19 March, 2012  |   Comment

St. Paddy’s recap and an Irish Soda Bread recipe

Dottie Jane and some Irish Soda Bread
We learned this week that Irish Soda Bread isn’t just for St. Patrick’s day.

It’s a handy quickbread.
Part biscuit, part bread, perfect for sopping.

I can see this bread sopping up gravy for beef stew,
or buttered and toasted alongside a cioppino.
(I can see it with my mindbrain!)

But first, let’s talk about the rest of the meal.
St. Patrick’s, that is.

Another yearly habit since we married,
we enjoyed the traditional corned beef and cabbage.

My mom called and left a message reminding us of a St. Patrick’s day two years ago, the day that we moved into our house-that-we-love.

“And we were surrounded by boxes, and you surprised ALL of us, baby Dottie, Nora Lea, James and especially me with a full Irish feast!”

(And then I remembered our 2005 St. Patrick’s Day with our dog Pinot.)
(And then I remembered our 2007 St. Patrick’s Day before kids.)
(And then I dug up my few word post from 2003’s St. Patrick’s Day.)

Like my man, I’m half Irish and half German. This means we enjoy St. Paddy’s day and Oktoberfest with equal enthusiasm.

Oktoberfest quickbreads ain’t got nothing on us.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated Best Recipes

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups white flour (Cooks Illustrated recommends a lower-protein flour like Gold Medal or Pillsbury)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cup buttermilk (in this situation, I made a passable substitution out of 1 1/2 cups whole milk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.)

Before anything, you take the butter out to make sure it’s softened. Not being aware of unsoftened butter is a thorn in my side, a slippery, greasy thorn.

Preheat oven to 450°. Prepare a baking sheet by slapping a piece of parchment paper on that guy.
In a very large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, soda and cream of tartar.

After your hands have been well washed and dried, pinch pieces of the softened butter off of your butter chunk and work into the flour until the mix is crumblike and sandy.

Add the buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together in a big sticky blog. Plop onto a flour-covered work surface and kneed until it all comes together about 14 times and really no more than that. Shape into a round shape about 6 inches across by 2 inches high. Score the dough by cutting a cross shape on the top of the loaf.

Put the round in the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes.
When you pull the loaf from the oven, brush the top with the leftover melted butter and cool for a half hour before digging in.

I like slathering with blueberry jam, but that’s my jam.

St. Paddy's dinner 2012

Irish Soda Bread party. Throw it!

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