I tweeted that it was ugly, but the end result was authentically perfect. With today being St. Patrick’s Day and having an Irish husband, I may feel a little extra pressure to make something as close to home as possible. Earlier in the week I made Irish stew, and we eat Kerrygold butter and cheese like it’s going out of style, but I thought a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast of brown bread and Kerrygold butter would be a nice start to the day. Too bad I was like a total zombie this morning and slept liked I was drugged until 9:00! I literally could not open my eyes this morning and kept drifting back to sleep which never ever happens. Still, the sentiment was there, and I think he took some bread to go.
Any good bread starts with good flour, and I used King Arthur All Purpose and Whole Wheat Flours. Ever since our trip to King Arthur, I have only purchased their flour.
The recipe also called for buttermilk. I didn’t have any in the house, and it was absolutely pouring, so I made my own using the milk called for in the recipe and a few spoons of white vinegar. It works like a charm.
The other wet ingredient was one egg, whipped up in a little cup. Side note, I got these little cups at Crate and Barrel years ago, and I love them.
I first mixed together all of the dry ingredients, then slowly worked in the milk and egg. The dough was kind of a mess and took me a little while to get it into one piece. I was a little sad at this point. But I went ahead and made the cross in the bread for whatever reason the Irish do this.
P.S. I looked it up, and here was what I found:
There are several theories as to the significance of the cross in Irish soda bread. Some believe that the cross was placed in the bread to ward off evil (the devil) or to let the fairies out of the bread. However, it is probable that the cross is used to help with the cooking of the bread by allowing air circulation so that the bread rises better.
Obviously it’s for the fairies. Glad I know that now, and I am glad I put the cross in so that we didn’t eat them.
I wished for a little bit of luck, put the loaf into the oven for 50 minutes, and out came this:
It’s kind of bumpy, but it actually is pretty close to what you would see by the dozens in an Irish bakery
When my husband got home, he was absolutely delighted. A man who probably wouldn’t notice if I moved the furniture to opposite sides of the house noticed that I remembered to put the cross in the bread
Even more exciting, it had that nice crust on the outside and was cooked all the way through. I was a little worried that because of the thickness it would be doughy in the middle. Not so!
I love baking recipes with just a few ingredients like this. It was a great rainy day activity!
But it’s not raining anymore! It is an absolutely gorgeous day here in Boston. Our windows are open, and I am going to try to jam work/job hunting into the evening and maybe a little over the weekend in order to take advantage of the sunlight. I need Vitamin D!
Is it beautiful out where you are? What’s on tap for the weekend?
- ACTIVE: 10 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR
- SERVINGS: makes one 8-by-5-inch loaf
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter an 8-by-5-inch metal loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk both flours with the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the egg; stir into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until a rough dough forms.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Form the dough into a loaf and put it in the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the bread has risen about 1/2 inch above the rim of the pan. Once unmolded, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool to warm or room temperature, then slice and serve.
Irish farmhouse cheeses.