I am SUPER-PREPPED for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, I mean r-e-a-d-y. Corned beef brisket? Check! It's absolutely gorgeous and ready for the slow-cooker. Cabbage? You betcha, complete with butter, salt and pepper to adorn it. Baby carrots? Darn tootin'. I switched them out for the boiled potatoes because I felt like the meal needed a little color.
But the pièce de résistance? It would have to be the Irish soda bread I baked earlier today, which you can see in the picture undergoing some kind of sweating process: I read about fifty different recipes and nearly all of them urged me to wrap it up and let it sit overnight, hinting strongly that I'd be missing out of some kind of extra taste sensation if I served it hot from the oven.
So my two loaves of bread are having their spa treatment so we've not had the smallest taste. If I could go by the aroma they produced while baking, I'd say this recipe is a winner. Not to mention the fact that it was really very easy to prepare, one of those recipes you can throw together in a matter of minutes that still has you coming off looking like some kind of kitchen genius.
Irish Soda Bread with Caraway Seeds and Currants
6 cups of flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups buttermilk
1 cup currants
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
Stir beaten eggs into the four cups of buttermilk in a small mixing bowl; set aside. Combine all dry ingredients (except for currants and caraway seeds); add buttermilk/egg mixture slowly, stirring only until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in currants and caraway seeds.
Divide the dough in two and pour into two standard loaf pans that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. For a more traditional loaf, shape into two boules on two baking sheets lined with parchment. Allow to sit on the counter for half an hour to give the chemical leavening action of the baking soda and buttermilk to occur. At the end of that time, slash a cross in the dough and bake in pre-heated 325 degree oven for approximately fifty minutes. Bread is done when a cake tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
Two standard loaves or two rustic boules. You can try for one large boule, but you'll have to bake it longer and I'm not sure how much longer that would be.
Serve with melted butter and honey or jam for a teatime treat, or serve with dinner.
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