Monday, March 17, 2008

IRISH SODA BREAD


Corned beef and cabbage isn't the only traditional holiday favorite on St. Patrick's Day.
While St. Patrick himself never had the pleasure of tasting such a sweet delight (soda bread didn't exist in Ireland until the 1840s when bicarbonate soda was introduced) it's now often served with meals.

Many argue that "real" soda bread consists of only flour, buttermilk or sour milk, salt and baking soda. Once you add raisins, it becomes "The Spotted Dog." Likewise, the caraway seeds, whiskey and furit turn the bread into "cake", and are found in America, not Ireland. Still, here are a few recipes, whichever way you prefer!

Sweet Irish Soda Bread
Courtesy of the Food Network
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup currants
2 tablespoons toasted caraway seeds
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon sanding sugar

Instructions:
First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix it well. Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces. Add the flour. Now, using your fingers, work the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it looks like crumbs. Add the buttermilk, currants and caraway seeds and mix them into the flour mixture as well. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead until the dough forms a ball. Grease a loaf pan and place the dough in the pan, then making sure to score the top of the loaf with a knife. Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter (yum!). Sprinkle some sanding sugar and place the loaf in the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until you see it turn a golden brown

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