Saturday, January 19, 2013

Irish Soda Bread

I stayed home from work sick on Friday and after countless hours of Housewives on Bravo and 8 episodes of Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network I was losing my mind. I figured that since I was home I should make myself useful and bake or cook something. I've made virtually every type of cake and pie there is but I've never tried to make bread before. My grandma makes Irish Soda Bread all the time and it's absolutely delicious. I honestly thought it had soda in it so I was a little afraid to try. But after watching Barefoot Contessa make it and reading a few recipes online while sick in bed, I figured I'd give it a go. This bread is so simple it's not even fair to call it bread. It requires no kneading, resting, or yeast. It takes about 5 minutes to make and 50 minutes to bake so this is a great bread to make for breakfast for those late sleepers or to even give as a gift. Usually Irish soda bread calls for currants but I only had dried cranberries and it turned out just beautifully. Also, it calls for buttermilk but I was not about to use that (the thickness scares me). So I made skim milk by putting 2 tbs. FRESH lemon juice (if you don't have lemons, go swipe one from your neighbor!) in a 2 cup measuring cup and pouring 2 cups of skim milk over it. In 2 minutes, the milk will have curdled and voila! You have faux buttermilk! It makes the bread so flaky and crunchy on the outside but moist on the inside. It looks so professional and gorgeous you almost won't want to eat it (but you will!) I also made a cinnamon honey butter to go on top and I simply can't stop eating it!!!

What you'll need:
4 cups flour
4 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tbs. Kosher salt
1/2 stick COLD unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 cups skim milk
2 tbs. FRESH lemon juice (NO bottled, please!!!)
1 extra large egg, beaten
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup dried cranberries (or any other dried berries you have)

1. Preheat your oven to 375* and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you MUST use parchment or the dough will stick). Add 2 tbs. FRESH lemon juice in a 2 cup measuring cup and pour 2 cups of skim milk over it. Let sit for two minutes.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Give it a quick mix around. Add the butter and mix on medium until the butter is the size of peas in the flour. 
3. Toss the dried cranberries with 1 tsp. flour so they don't sink to the bottom of the bread. Pour into the flour mixture and mix for a few seconds.
4. Beat the egg and zest the orange and pour into the milk. Slowly pour all of the milk contents into the electric mixing bowl.
5. Mix until the dough forms into a large ball. Flour a surface to knead the dough for just a minute, form into a ball and put on the baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes.
6. Slice and serve with the cinnamon honey butter (or regular butter if you're boringgggggg!).

enjoy :)

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