Sunday, April 17, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

So if you logged on today expecting to see pictures of people you don't know holding their cats, well I'm sorry. I don't think I'm going to post those every week, because I realized when I'm not spending all day studying, I tend not to spend any time on facebook, either. 
In other words, I haven't found enough pictures of people with their cats because this past week. I've had more of a life and haven't been lurking the facebook world as much, so you really should be proud of me, not disappointed!! I promise I will post another edition of "People With Cats" again, but maybe not on a weekly basis.
Instead, I'm sure you will enjoy this recipe for Irish Soda Bread, passed down to me from my irish mother (who may or may not have adapted it from the joy of cooking, and not her own irish mother...). 
 Even though this bread is made from scratch, there is no yeast in it. The baking soda is what makes it rise! I recommend eating a slice of it toasted with some butter or cream cheese. And maybe a hot toddy, too, for good measure. yumz.

Irish Soda Bread

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
¼ cup chilled butter
½ to 1 cup raisins or currants
2 teaspoons caraway seeds (1 tsp caraway 1 tsp fennel seeds works well, too)
1 beaten egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Sift together in a large bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar
Add butter and cut into the flour with a pastry blender (fork + elbow grease= perfect substitute), until the mixture has the consistency of course cornmeal, sort of like this:

Stir in: raisins/currant & caraway/fennel seeds (just skip this step if you don't want seeds in your bread)

Mix together: beaten egg & buttermilk
Then, add to dry ingredients and stir well
Knead briefly and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper
  Cut a bold cross or criss-cross pattern over the top and sides so the bread will not crack in baking (I did not make the incision bold enough, and the bread cracked!) 
Brush the top with milk (I used soy, cow milk would probably have given it a better sheen)
Bake 35 to 40 minutes.

Vegan Substitutions: Substitute just about any kind of vegetable based shortening for butter. Smart Balance makes baking sticks with vegetable oil, and those work quite nicely.  
Soy yogurt or vegan sour cream can substitute for buttermilk.  
The egg can be replaced with a vegan egg substitute. A friend recently introduced me to this.  It's this powder that you mix with a few teaspoons of water to replace eggs in baking, cooking, etc. etc.
You can skip the milk on top, or use soy like I did.  It is only for looks, though, so not really necessary either way. 


  1. just so you know....your mother's mother's maiden name is kessler and is probably more german rather than irish...sooo....yeah