“A few absolutes: Traditional Irish Soda Bread does not contain
- “zest”, orange or any other kind
- Irish Whiskey. (talk about stereotyping!!!)
- Honey (substitute for sugar)
- Sugar (see definition of “cake”)
- eggs (see definition of “cake”)
- Garlic (not common in English/Irish dishes)
- Shortening (hydrogenated vegetable oil – Crisco introduced to the US in 1911. Not in the 19th century)
- Double Cream (British term for “Heavy Cream” but a little thicker. Not much chance irish peasants would be using this.)
- Sour Cream (traditional in Eastern European dishes. Became popular in the US and European kitchens during the past 50 years, not 150 years ago. see http://www.ochef.com/516.htm
- Yogurt (prior to 1900 a staple in Central Europe and Asia. Introduced to the US after WWII by Isaac Carasso who started Dannon in NY City. Not a 19th century Irish baking item.)
- Chiles/Jalapenos (Right! Ireland is well known for using these in its traditional food!! por favor!
- Fruit (Only in Christmas/Easter cakes and other special occasions._
And just about anything else one can think of. All of the above ingredients can be found in “Irish soda bread” recipes somewhere on the web. Interesting, but definitely not Traditional Irish Soda Bread.”
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling
1/4 cup wheat bran (not bran cereal)or toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 cup golden raisins (I also used some currants)
1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used a cup of milk with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to make my own buttermilk)
Preheat oven to 400 F and sprinkle a baking sheet lightly with flour (or line a sheet with parchment paper).
In a large bowl whisk together flour, bran, baking soda, and salt. Add butter and toss to coat with flour. With fingertips rub in butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add raisins and toss until coated. Add buttermilk and stir until dough is moistened evenly.
On a floured surface knead dough one minute, sprinkling lightly with additional flour to prevent sticking (dough should remain soft). Shape dough into a ball.
On a prepared baking sheet pad dough out into a 6-inch round. Sprinkle round with additional flour and with fingertips spread lightly over round. With a sharp knife cut a shallow X on top of round.
Bake bread in middle of oven 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Wrap bread in a kitchen towel and cool on a rack one hour. Unwrap bread and cool one more hour.
Happy Baking! xo Lora
To all my friends that celebrate, I wish you a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day!