Sunday, March 18, 2012

irish soda bread.

from the time i was little, my grandpa instilled a pretty strong sense of irish pride in me.
i mean... my name is kelle o'connell, for goodness sake.
it would be a waste of a name if i weren't proud of it haha.

the traditions that i hold onto nowadays are mostly just things that remind me of my grandpa.
this was our second st. patrick's day without him and it's still an emotional day for me, but this year i reflected a lot on happy memories instead of just being sad that he wasn't here.

my favorite irish tradition of all is irish soda bread, which my mom makes every year around st. patrick's day.

now, i know i'm a little late on posting this, considering st. patrick's day is over - but that's mostly because i've been too busy (practically single-handedly) eating 3 loaves of soda bread this week (seriously) to take pictures or write about anything over here. haha. but we made another loaf yesterday for the actual st. patrick's day holiday and paired with the rainy weather... perfection.

basically, during the potato famine, poverty swept ireland and this bread was the easiest, cheapest thing for families to put on their table. there is no yeast in it, which makes it very dense and heavy, but extremely delicious!

whenever i mention irish soda bread, people seem to assume that there is some kind of carbonated soda baked into it hahaha. in case you are one of those people, that's not the case - it's baking soda that the title refers to. and there's a lot of different variations of how to make it and what to include, but i will share the o'connell family recipe with you here. :) just in case you ever feel inclined to make some yourself!

{ irish soda bread }

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees

in a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.

use a pastry blender or a fork to cut the butter into the mixed dry ingredients.

stir in the caraway seeds and raisins (i skip the raisins but it's all a matter of preference)

in a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together and stir into the dough mixture.

turn the dough out on a floured surface and fold it over on itself several times, shaping it into a round loaf. 

transfer the loaf to a cookie sheet covered with parchment and cut a cross in the top. 

bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and cook it for about 15-20 minutes more, until well colored.

then, just let it cool and enjoy it. 
good luck!
haaaaa. (pun totally intended. i'm cool.)

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