Thursday, March 6, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

I know I have mention probably a billion times that I like to cook things that I already have ingredients for. Since Erin and I have recently moved the wallet is a bit barer and the cupboards are a bit different. I recently obtained a large bag of Whole Wheat flour (another goody from King Aurthur) and wanted to make something with it right away! I am still educating myself however on the uses and substitutions that whole wheat flour can add. Its a tricky business that I once learned after buying whole wheat graham cracker flour, and attempting to make cookies with it. They tasted more like cracker fig newtons...not your typical cookie description.

In my daily searches for dishes the emails began creeping in about St.Patrick Day recipes. I am a huge cabbage fan so stay tuned for those discoveries, however something diffenet that caught my eye was a recipe for : Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread. DING DING DING. I knew that this had to utilize whole wheat flour so I clicked away to see what other ingredients were required. Surprisingly there was no yeast involved (something I always equated with breads of any sort) and I had everything else on the small list! I also found a tasty looking cabbage soup that requires stale or toasted whole wheat bread that I wanted to try so I thought this would be a perfect way to prep for another meal.

Now when I say this was simple to might be the simplest thing I have ever made. The recipe called for buttermilk which I always make from scratch (one Tbsp. of vinegar for every cup of milk, and let sit for a few mins.) and everything else was already in the house. Another fun part of the process was that you get to mix it with your hands. washed of course :). I was a bit nervous that the consistency of the bread was too wet, as it mentions in the instructions that it should be "soft but not too wet and sticky", however after rolling it in the flour on the counter it looked fine:
The next step was baking which seemed fairly simple as well. The bread bakes for 20 mins. at 450 and then reduces to 400 for 20-25 mins. BUT, and this is a large BUT it also says that the bread is done when it browns on top and sounds hollow when tapped. When I went to turn the temperature down I was nervous because my bread already looked brown on top, and sounded slightly hollow. I left it in for about 5-8 more mins. and then took it out. It looked great!

Now perhaps you have already figure this out but erin is Irish...come on...ERIN. And we are currently staying with her family. So although I have never had Irish Soda bread before, I knew that her mom (maiden name McKinley) must have. We sliced it up, served it plain (for erin), jellied (for her mom) and apple buttered (for me). It was delicious! Erin's mom said that she has made it with raisins in it as well and that it was the perfect bread to have with a cup of tea. I have to agree.

I can't wait to add it to my future recipe, but even better than that it renewed my faith in using whole-wheat flour again.

Stay tuned St. Patty's day is not even here yet!!!