Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Soda Bread (with Rye and Caraway)

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! The patron saint of Ireland's feast day is more celebrated in the U.S. than Ireland, due in large part to early Irish immigrants desire for a connection to their homeland. While modern celebrations tend toward much imbibing of green beer and other libations, it always gives me a good excuse to highlight some of the peasant food the Irish do so well.

Last year I wrote of Colcannon - traditionally mashed potatoes with leeks and cabbage (or another green). This year I made soda bread, which was new for me, and I am hooked! While most recipes call for buttermilk, there is a substitution of yogurt, milk and white vinegar that worked very nicely for me.

I was torn between two recipes - Heidi's simpler version or Elise's butter added one. Since Elise gave the instructions for the non-buttermilk version I used that one. But I will definitely be trying a butter-free one as well.

As both recipes note, this is quick, easy and incredibly satisfying. It took all my will power not to eat half the loaf in one sitting. Although I substituted some rye flour, Elise's original recipe called for only all purpose flour.

Irish Soda Bread with Rye and Caraway
Based on Simply Recipes

1 1/2 cups rye flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2 (or whole milk)
1 tablespoon white vinegar*
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons caraway seeds

*instead of yogurt, milk and vinegar, use 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk flours, soda, salt and caraway seeds in large mixing bowl. Using your finger tips, smoosh butter into flour to blend it well, until butter is well distributed. While I using use a fork when cutting butter into flour, since there is so much more flour than the butter, you should use your hands to ensure there are no large lumps of butter. In measuring cup, combine yogurt, milk and white vinegar and blend well. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in wet ingredients. Mix gently and turn out onto the counter or a cutting board and form into a ball. Add a splash of milk if mixture is too dry but do not over work dough; just form it into a ball so it is not too dry. Place on parchment paper on baking sheet and cut a deep X (1 1/2 inches deep) with a serrated knife. The cut helps the heat to penetrate the dough when it is cooking. Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes and then turn heat down to 400 and bake another 25 minutes. Bread is done when the tapping the bottom of the bread produces a hollow sound. Remove from oven and allow to cook on the sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes. Cut and serve. Soda bread is best eaten immediately or within 48 hours.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Parmesan-Crusted Rigatoni with Cauliflower and Prosciutto at Very Culinary
Basil Garlic Chicken at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice
Homemade Girl Scout Cookies - Samoas Bars at Nutmeg Nanny

1 comment:

demuths said...

Lovely soda bread - I just had a reader ask about adding rye to our soda bread recipe and referred her to this. I bet it'd be great with a few raisins thrown into the mix!