Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Irish Soda Bread w/ Dried Cranberries

Sometimes, in over ambitious moments, I buy ingredients because I plan to make something. Like when I bought buttermilk to make a pumpkin butterscotch layer cake on a Friday night to bring to a friend's house Saturday morning. (Never happened.) Then I have a quart of buttermilk sitting in the fridge giving me the evil eye every time I open the door. I can hear it saying, "I'm going to go bad and smell awful and make you feel guilty for wasting me." Drives me nuts. And it's not like you can just throw some buttermilk on your cereal in the morning.

Then I saw this recipe that called for buttermilk on blog I like to read, herbivoracious, and it had about 15 less steps than the pumpkin butterscotch layer cake, and I don't even want to guess how many less calories. So last night when I got an unexpected reprieve from cooking dinner, I decided to make this so my oven didn't get lonely. It seriously took me about 10 minutes, start to finish, including washing the bowl, and there is only one bowl to wash. I really don't know why I ever made bread with yeast. This is just as good and there is no rising and kneading (well there's a little kneading, but nothing intense.) And there is no chance the bread will rise too much, overflow the bowl and make a mess. Not that I ever do that.

The bread was delicious for breakfast this morning with a little bit of butter. It's not a sweet bread but a nice hearty bread with a little tangy sweetness around the edges because of the cranberries. It is little bit denser than yeast bread, but not that much denser. (And if you live around here, where you can't buy decent bread even if your life depends on it, then it is probably lighter than some of the bread you've eaten.) A much better way to make buttermilk into breakfast than pouring it on your cereal. I will definitely be making this again, maybe with something else folded in instead of cranberries or maybe plain.

Irish Soda Bread w/ Dried Cranberries
Adapted from herbivoracious, which adapted from Saveur magazine. Go ahead adapt your own.


2 cups pastry flour*
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tbs. sugar (use 2 tbs. for a plain loaf)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 tbs. butter, cool
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg, beaten
2 cups buttermilk

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Sift together flours, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
-Cut in butter using two knifes until the butter is in very small little chunks (smaller than a pea).
-Mix in the egg and buttermilk with a spoon. A loose dough should form. It should be sticky but able to hold the shape of a ball.
-Add the dried cranberries and knead them into the dough. You can do this in the bowl.
-Grease a cookie sheet and place the ball of dough on the center.** Cut an X in the top with a sharp knife.
-Bake for 40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow. (Internal temperature should be 180 degrees, if you have a meat thermometer you can use).

*herbivoracious notes that the pastry flour will make a more tender bread, but you can basically use 4 cups of any flour. I trusted him on this and used the pastry flour, and my bread was very tender indeed.

**The loaf pictured is half of this recipe. You can make it all as one loaf or you can divide it in half and make two smaller loaves. When making smaller loaves, it takes slightly less time to cook, 30-35 minutes.


Michael Natkin said...

Delighted you liked it!

Anonymous said...

Soda bread is a fave of mine! Love the idea of the cranberries!!