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Practical Baker
Irish Soda Bread: courtesy Cook's Country
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 • Posted March 21, 2013

This has got to be one of the quickest breads I’ve ever made; total work time of about 10 minutes! The recipe calls for roasted wheat germ, but, darn, I was fresh out of wheat germ so I substituted roasted sesame seeds. This bread has a dense texture, sorta like beer bread, and is great for sopping up juice from your pinto beans or vegetable soup, or even your beef stew. In an emergency, it can be eaten alone, with a big slab of butter smeared on it.

Ingredients:

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour

½ cup roasted wheat germ or sesame seeds

3 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ¾ cups of buttermilk

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and divided

Process:

Adjust the oven rack to the middle-lower position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a large bowl; melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.

Add the melted butter to the buttermilk; then add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients.

Stir the mixture until the dough just begins to come together.

Dump onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 8 times! That’s all; you just want to get it to form a cohesive mass that you can handle easily. Pat the dough into a round shape about 7 inches across and move it to your baking sheet. Take a sharp, serrated edge knife and cut a slash in the top about 5 inches long and a quarter of an inch deep.

Bake until a skewer comes out clean, or when the thermometer registers 195 degrees. It will take about 50 minutes, and you should turn the loaf halfway through the bake cycle.

Remove the bread, brush it with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter, and allow it to cool on a wire rack for an hour.

NOTE: One of our readers noted that I had used the terms “all purpose flour” and “bread flour” interchangeably in a past column. She wanted to know if it was OK to use A/P flour if she didn’t have any bread flour. The answer is “YES, It’s perfectly OK!” Bread flour is made from a different wheat than A/P flour, and will tend to produce bread that’s got a different, lighter crumb. It’s also more expensive, and the Practical Baker does not use it unless a few pounds happen to be given to him! Purists will insist on using bread flour when making bread, and swear they can tell a huge difference. I report, you decide.

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