We know it’s March and you want a recipe for Corned Beef, but these days the beef comes pre-corned and has directions printed on it. Instead, we are going to walk through how to make that other St. Patricks day staple (not Guinness) soda bread.
So here’s the thing, yes you can buy soda bread, but it is so easy to make that it is a good party trick to have. Warm bread always makes you look like a master baker and this bread is great with anything really, but we highly recommend it with dark stews or any red meat.
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoons baking soda
½ tsp. Salt
2 cups* buttermilk
Extra flour for kneading
Round cake pan
Slightly damp flour sack towel
Put your dry ingredients into your sifter and sift into the mixing bowl**
Slowly add buttermilk, mixing well as you go.
The dough should be sticky
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface
Put a little flour on your hands and form the dough into a round.
Grease your pan.
Put the bread round into the cake pan***.
With a sharp knife, cut a shallow X across the top of the bread****.
Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.
Bread will be slightly browned and will sound hollow when tapped.
Once the bread has been turned out of the pan, wrap it in your flour sack which keeps it from getting tough. Let it cool just a bit and serve with plenty of butter or jam.
*as opposed to something like brownies or cake, which have to have exact measurements of liquids, bread recipes are always more dependant on the day and the atmosphere. Always make sure that you have a little more of the liquid than the recipe calls for, sometimes you will need a little more, often you will need a little less than called for.
**Okay, let’s talk about sifting dry ingredients. Every recipe will talk about sifting together your dry ingredients. Here is our terrible secret, we don’t do this. We have have been a professional baker, a line cook, and a kitchen lead, we have never sifted our dry ingredients. So why do we include it? The reason you sift dry ingredients is that it ensures even distribution of them. (Especially if things like baking soda are involved, if you don’t know why baking soda specifically try tasting just a little bit straight and imagine biting into bread and getting a hunk of that instead). The main point is just to make sure that your dry ingredients are well mixed, and lump free.
***So traditional Irish soda bread, of course, was not made in modern ovens and there are some people who will tell you that you should cover the cake pan with another pan to help the bread rise and help it taste more like traditional soda bread. Again, we have never done this and our bread always turns out fine, but f you try it let us know how it worked out.
****scoring bread. Any bread that rises needs to be scored when you put it in the oven. This allows it to rise and lets steam escape. You don’t have to cut a large x, you can cut really any design you want, just make sure that it is even over the top of the bread. The x of course is the traditional way, and the easiest way. We always advocate for the easy way, because we’re helpful like that.