Irish Soda Bread

tms-sns-201402271630--tms--foodstylts--v-a20140227-1-20140227

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan and top of the loaf
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried currants (optional)
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, as needed

Instructions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 F. Dust the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with flour.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a large bowl. Add the butter and stir to coat with the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, with some pea-size pieces of butter. Stir in the currants and caraway seeds (if using). Stir in enough of the buttermilk to make a moist, soft dough, being sure to moisten all of the dry bits on the bottom of the bowl. Knead in the bowl just a few times to be sure the dough comes together — this is not a smooth dough.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Sprinkle the top with at least 1 tablespoon flour to give the loaf a rustic look. Transfer to the prepared pan. Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow 4-inch wide X in the top of the dough. The X will open during baking and help the loaf bake more evenly.
  4. Bake until the top is deep golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the pan. Let cool on a wire cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes, and serve warm. (The bread is best the day it is made.)

Makes 1 loaf.

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