Monday, March 24, 2008

Irish Soda Bread: 2x the fun

Ugh. What an awful few weeks. They have been just overwhelmingly sad, almost unbearable. I never thought I'd have to watch the people I love suffer so deeply. It's still so hard to believe, for so many people, and I don't know that the sadness will fade easily.

And so, this post is dedicated to Mark, who I barely knew but I loved, and who I regret I will never be able to know like Tim did. We celebrated St. Patty's Day in honor of him (well, hell, I did anyway) & I thought of him as the cabbage cooked because Tim told me that he's awful at making cabbage (since he hates it) & the only time he's ever made cabbage well was once when he cooked St. Patty's dinner for Mark, who told him that it was cooked just as he liked it. :)

And I know that Irish Soda Bread is the last thing on anyone's mind right now, but I made it before all the crap, and I've been wanting to post about it (and I haven't really baked/cooked in over a week...ugh, I'm so tired of take-out). I was originally going to post 3 recipes, but I seem to have lost the 3rd, so you'll get the first two I tried instead.

The first is much more like a cake (and therefore, delicious) but the second is much more like what I think of when I think of soda bread. I still think a mix of the two recipes might result in my perfect idea of soda bread (the 3rd recipe was my first attempt at integrating the recipes) but maybe a completely separate 3rd recipe would be best.

Irish Soda Bread (cake form)
from Whole Grain Baking

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup raisins, plumped
1 Tbsp milk, for glaze

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch round pan.

Beat together the butter & sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add the eggs and beat on high speed until the mixture is thick & light colored, about 2 min. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda & salt, then 1 cup of the whole wheat flour. Gently beat in half of the buttermilk then another cup of the flour. Add the remaining buttermilk and the all-purpose flour, mixing until smooth. Stir in the raisins.

Turn the dough into the prepared pan. Drizzle the milk over it & sprinkle with sugar.

Irish Soda Bread (bread form)
from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg white
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare a 9-inch round baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking osda & baking powder. Thoroughtly mix in the brown sugar. Cut the butter pieces into the flour until the mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse meal.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Add the buttermilk & raisins. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring just until the dough is evenly moistened, the dough will be very soft & VERY sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and with floured hands, gently knead for just 30-45 seconds.

Mound the dough into a dome about 9 inches across in the baking pan. Cut an "X" in the top of the loaf. Bake for 45 min, or until firm to the touch & golden brown.

*You know, I might have made some modifications to these recipes (in fact, I'm pretty sure I did) but I can't remember at this point. I'll edit the recipe if I remember. I know instead of buttermilk I used about 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, & the rest milk.*

I know I don't really have any regular readers out there, but if anyone's noticed my absence, thanks for bearing with me. I haven't been able to focus worth a damn. And it hasn't helped that in between I've been sicker than I can remember. (My "Spring Break" was spent shaking with fever while my mom took care of me in the middle of the night (thanks Mom!) & missing my flight back to Indiana...I'm so glad I was home in Jersey with my family, but it sure wasn't my favorite "vacation" ever!) I even made these recipes before St. Patrick's Day, thinking for once I'd actually post before the holiday, but life got in the way!

So a happy belated St. Patrick's Day, and here's hoping that next year will bear happier times than this one.

* Love, Sarah *


Gretchen Noelle said...

Sarah, sorry to hear that you are sick and that things just haven't great lately. I love that you did a comparison of irish breads - they both look tasty!

Gigi said...

I am so sorry to hear about your illness and sadness that accompanied it. I hope your feeling better and it was a great post about soda bread. Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day!