Since my roots come from Ireland, let's make this super easy, Traditional Irish Soda Bread
to go with our Irish Stew for dinner!
Irish Soda Bread is a rustic, dense bread with a crusty exterior. It's basically a large biscuit...sans the copious amounts of butter. Butter was more of a luxury back then in famine-stricken Ireland. But not to worry, when you slather it on the bread after it is cut, it is amazing!
Irish Soda Bread was traditionally made with only the most basic of ingredients: flour, baking soda (used as a leavening agent instead of yeast), soured milk (or Buttermilk) to moisten and activate the soda, and salt. This is more of a peasant bread. Let us save a space on our dinner tables tonight for this humble bread and be thankful for all that we have today.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
4 C. Flour
1 Tbs. Baking Powder (Not super traditional but it's GREAT for levening!)
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
2 C. Buttermilk or Sour Milk*
1 egg (mixed with a splash of water for egg wash)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to a large bowl and mix well.
Make a well for the buttermilk. Pour in the buttermild and mix until the flour is moistened and partially comes together. If necessary, add a little more buttermilk if your dough is too dry.
Pour this mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until the dough forms a nice ball and holds together. DO NOT knead it too much or your bread will be tough.
Shape the dough into approximately an 8-inch disk and place on your prepared baking sheet.
Using a knife cut an X about 1 inch deep on the top. Not only does this make it look beautiful and rustic, but this helps it cook in the middle.
Brush the top of the loaf with an egg wash and sprinkle some flour on top for a more rustic look.
Bake for about 35 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap on it.
Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve warm with butter. Leftover bread, if you have any, is wonderful the next day sliced and toasted and topped with butter and jam.
*To make sour milk, combine 1 Tbs. Lemon juice with 1 C. Milk