Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patty's Day! Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick's Day! On my weight loss journey, I'm down 3 pounds and I couldn't be more thrilled. I've been eating a higher protein, lower carb diet, cut out sugar, processed starches, most dairy, and I'm eating more veggies and seeing the numbers on the scale is definitely encouraging. That being said, I gave myself a pass to have a little traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner this weekend, and that comes with Irish Soda Bread.

This is my grandma's recipe. My grandmother was 100% Scottish and my grandfather was 100% Irish, so while I'm not 100% sure of the authenticity of this recipe, I do know it's delicious and simple, which is the Irish way.

One of my favorite parts of this recipe is cutting in the butter. Much the way you do with biscuits, you have to cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients. I start by cubing the butter...

begin the cutting process with a pastry cutter, and finish the process with my hands. "Chef's best tools," as my mom always said. I love getting my hands in there and breaking apart the bigger pieces of butter. The flour feels luxurious.

One note about this recipe: my grandmother always said not to double the recipe. My mom has tested this and it's true, it doesn't come out as good. I think this is probably because with a dough like this, you don't want to over-work it, and double the ingredients requires doubling the amount of stirring and prodding. No matter what the reason, it requires so few ingredients and dishes, it's easy enough to just keep everything out and make another loaf after.

Next up, I'll bring you one of my favorite warm weather quick and healthy dinners. 

Irish Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4-1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2-1 cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients.
  3. Cut butter into small pieces and add to dry ingredients. Using a fork or pastry cutter, break down butter pieces until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  4. Combine egg and 3/4 cup buttermilk. Add to flour mixture.
  5. Stir with wooden spoon until sticky. Add more buttermilk if too dry.
  6. Bake in a greased round 9 inch cake pan for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

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