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Irish Soda Bread

March 15, 2012

I couldn’t let this week pass without honoring my Irish heritage.  I’m not much of a corned beef and cabbage person but Irish Soda Bread is right up my alley!  Crusty, delicious bread that is slightly sweet and little tangy.  My Mom always made Irish Soda Bread around St. Patrick’s Day so this is a nice tribute to my childhood.  This version couldn’t be easier to make…I got home from the gym last night and had the bread in the oven in about 20 minutes!  The orange zest adds a nice brightness and the buttermilk keeps the bread moist so it isn’t overly dry like many Irish Soda Breads.

Since St. Patrick’s Day is on a Saturday this year, we had a little celebration at work today.  Lots of my co-workers don’t eat meat on Fridays during lent so they enjoyed corned beef sandwiches for lunch today.  I brought Irish Soda Bread for breakfast and received rave reviews.  Please excuse the paper plate and plastic knife in the photo below…I’m still working on my food styling and photographs but I didn’t have any nice props at my work desk.

Of course you don’t have to wait for St. Patrick’s day to make this bread.  It’s a delicious breakfast or brunch treat any time of year.  Serve room temperature or toasted with good quality butter like Lurpak or Plugra.  I tried Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter today and WOW!  I really love a good butter and this is my new favorite.

Irish Soda Bread
Adapted from Ina Garten
makes 1 loaf

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch dice (1/2 stick)
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup dried currants

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add the butter and mix into the flour using a pastry blender (or a fork and a knife, cutting through the mixture to break up the butter).  Keep cutting the butter into the flour until they are well mixed and no large chunks of butter remain (some pea-sized chunks of butter in the mixture is okay).

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg and orange zest together in a measuring cup.  Slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until well combined.  Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough.  It will be very wet.











Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf.  Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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