Faith and begorrah! How are ye, me wee Leprechauns? Today we learn to make Irish Soda Bread–with a twist. A lovely cardamom-y twist. Once ye taste it this way, ye'll never go back. And if ye've never been there, ye don't need to worry about going back, because ye're already somewhere's else! The road will rise up to meet ye right in the face if ye try to go back.
(I'm dizzy. What were we talking about?)
Ah, right me boy-o. Irish Soda Bread. Shall we? Let's shall.
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar (Do you know what this is? It's not that pickly sauce you eat with fish sticks, nor anything that grows on your teeth. We're talking a white powdery substance found in the spice aisle of your supermarket that makes baked goods all nice and fluffy.)(And by "white powdery substance," we mean cream of tartar. Not something found in little zip-lock baggies hidden in the lining of your gym bag and found by your local CSI unit's German Shepherd. Just want to be clear.)
1/2 tsp cardamom (*choirs of angels sing*)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup dark raisins (Not in this house, though. My people are not of the raisin persuasion.)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk + 2 Tbsp. for brushing (The loaves, not your teeth. Although, that might work) (And, btw, you can do that whole milk-and-vinegar-substitution-thingy for the buttermilk if you're out. You know, throw a tablespoon of vinegar into the measuring cup before you pour in the milk. And voilá, me lads and lassies! Soured-milk-which-is-like-buttermilk-but-not-but-it-works-fine-trust-me.)
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
-Butter and flour a baking sheet.
-Sift dry ingredients into large bowl. Add sugar.
-Add melted butter, buttermilk, and raisins (if you don't live here). Mix until well blended.
-Dust with more flour if dough is too sticky to handle. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead 3-5 minutes, until firm.
-Split dough in half and shape into two round loaves.
-Put loaves on baking sheet. Brush loaves with buttermilk and dust with flour.
-Score top of each loaf with an "x".
-Bake until golden, about 50 minutes (maybe less, depending on your oven and where you live. So check and make sure it's not getting too golden). Cool completely on wire rack. (Except don't. This stuff is a thing of beauty all warm with butter melting into it, so eat it now.)
Pictures? Yeah. Pictures:
Loovely, loovely ingredients. Doesn't take much to make Irish Heaven, does it?
All the dry stuff mixed together. I'm using raw sugar here, hence the boatload of brown stuff. Also, I'm doubling it, hence the boatload of boatload.
Mixing in the butter, buttermilk, and no raisins whatsoever. *weep*
Removal of jewelry before commencing of kneading. Isn't that an awesome bracelet? I shall make one just like it someday. Except with different colors and different beads and different chain, and stuff.
The soda bread. Mightily kneaded. In the Yellow Bowl Of Largeness. Yep. It's a magical thing.
Dividing the dough into loaves. Remember, I've doubled this, so I've cut it into four pieces. YOU will just cut yours in half. Unless you want itty bitty loaves. But I don't think it will work well that way. So, just cut it in half. Except in the case of doubling it. Have I said enough on the subject of Loaf-Division?
Two of my four loaves. Two of your two loaves. Cute little X's scored into them.
Gorgeous loaves of Irish and cardamom gorgeousness. Yum. I can smell the goodness.
Look at that crumb! Not lofty. Nay: humble, dense. Crispy on the outside, luscious on the in. Just waiting for that bit of butter and that cup of milk. And that nightly viewing of NCIS with the feet propped up on the piano bench.
Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat
(May the cat eat you, and the devil eat the cat) (Don't worry about it. Just eat the bread.)