Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Soda Bread with A Twist

Public Service Announcement: Most Irish soda bread includes raisins. However, I don't like raisins. So if you're lookin' at the soda bread picture and thinking that the raisins look awfully pink, it's because they're dried cranberries. Use raisins if you prefer.

This is an American-style soda bread, from what I understand. Irish soda bread originally didn't have raisins.

Some American-style Irish soda bread also includes caraway. This one doesn't, but if you like it, feel free to add 2-4 tablespoons of caraway along with the dry ingredients.

I found one recipe for soda bread that included cornmeal. In fact, it would have made a nice cornbread. The story along with the recipe was that during the famine in Ireland in 1848, the US shipped dried corn to Ireland. No one knew what to do with it, so they ground it up and made bread. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but it would be a fine excuse for making cornbread to go with your corned beef.

Soda Bread with Cranberries

1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
1/2 cup Irish whiskey (or hot water)
4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Combine the cranberries and whiskey (or hot water). Cover and set aside to rehydrate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt. Whisk to combine. Cut the butter into slices, then work it into the flour with your fingertips until it is fully incorporated. Add the honey, buttermilk and the cranberries and soaking liquid. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the liquid is absorbed.

Flour your work surface lightly an turn out the dough. Knead until it is smooth. It will still be sticky - try to avoid adding more flour. Form the dough into a 6-8 inch disk about 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 inches high and place it on your prepared baking sheet. Cut an X in the top of the dough across the top, about 1/2 inch deep.

Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until the bread is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack. If you like a softer crust. cover the bread with a clean kitchen towel as it cools.


Cedarglen said...

Such fun, thank you. Yup, I've made 'soda bread' a couple of times. Perhpas fun, but it does not sing to my soul (and the half cup of whiskey is wasted). Raisns or cranberries work for me, but the end product was just not quite up to standards - or hade little potential. As a special event thing, perhaps,but not a regular bread, raisans or naught. Good recipe & method and some will be pleased with the results. Thanks! C.

Tine said...

This bread looks amazing!

Susan said...

Hi Donna,
Your soda bread looks great.I just posted one on my blog.
Thanks for the heads up on the other blog using my pix.
How did you determine it was mine?
Susan, (Bucks Co. Cookie)

Диана said...

ohh woow!!!
fantastic bread))

sheila @ Elements said...

Sounds really interesting! I'm sure I'd love it 'cause I love cranberries. Can you taste the whiskey in it?

Donna Currie said...

You probably wouldn't know there's whisky, but it does add a richness to the bread. But it's not like a rum cake where you feel the kick.

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