Thursday, June 24, 2010

Noreen Kinney's Irish Soda Bread

I was sitting in class one day and suddenly became obsessed with the idea of making Irish soda bread - which I've never made before and it was about time! So I started looking up recipes on Epicurious and came across this serious gem of a recipe. It's full of so much good stuff like wheat bran, oat bran and wheat germ (the 3 ingredients I have trouble finding recipes that use significant quantities of so I always seem to have giant stockpiles of it that I'm trying to use up). And it also has flaxseeds and my most favourite seed of all, sunflower seeds. The bread tastes buttery (yum!), though there are only 3 tablespoons of butter in the whole recipe. Instead of making one big round, I made them drop scone style. This proved to be a very brilliant idea. I always freeze my baked goods, so when I would reheat these in the toaster oven, the crust got all nice and crisp while the insides were still soft. So incredibly addictive.

Apparently what people think of as Irish soda bread, made with white flour and raisins, is actually called Irish spotted dick (or dog). Traditional Irish soda bread is supposed to be more hearty, like this one is, with different types of grains. I loved this bread so much and would always want to have it in my freezer. It's perfect for eating with soup or salad or jam or cheese or anything really. I often just ate it by itself!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Pecan Fruit Rye Bread
Buttermilk Honey Bread
Oatmeal Knots

Noreen Kinney's Irish Soda Bread
Adapted from Epicurious | March 2008, from A Baker's Odyssey

Makes about 12-15 little loaves (see original recipe above for instructions on making 1 big loaf)

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour or graham flour, plus more for shaping (I used whole wheat flour)
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup untoasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons flaxseed
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 large egg
About 1 3/4 cups buttermilk (I used milk+vinegar)

Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 425°F. Prepare 2 baking sheets.

In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the fat particles are very fine. Stir in the baking soda, salt, sugar, wheat bran, oat bran, wheat germ, flaxseed, and sunflower seeds.

Beat the egg lightly with a fork in a 2-cup glass measure. Add enough buttermilk to come to the 2-cup line and stir with the fork to combine well. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough gathers into a thick, wet-looking mass.

Use an ice cream/cookie scoop or a measuring cup to drop 1/3 cup amounts onto the prepared baking sheets. Don't be concerned about evenness—the loaf should look rustic. Make a cross-shaped indentation on top of each loaf going right to the edges. Use a plastic bench scraper and press it into the dough very gently; don't actually cut the dough. During baking the indentation expands, giving the top of the loaf an attractive pattern.

Bake the bread for about 15-17 minutes, until it is well browned and sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom. Cool the loaves on a wire cooling rack, and serve warm or at room temperature.


Joanne said...

well, I can see why people just gave up on the phrase Irish spotted dick. It sounds...not so appealing.

This soda bread sounds fantastic though! I love how hearty it is.

Chocolate Coated Runner said...

irish soda bread is my fav ;)

Mary said...

Your soda bread really looks incredible. I am new to your blog and spent some time this morning reading through your earlier posts. I really like the recipes you feature and will be back often to see what else you've been baking. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Deborah said...

I'm reading a book that is set in Ireland, and in the first 50 pages, they've mentioned soda bread multiple times. Then I see this - I think I'm destined to make soda bread soon!

Johanna GGG said...

this looks like the real mccoy - just the sort of soda bread that I love - will be trying it - though I have so much trouble with the brans and wheat germ that I rarely have them all in the house at once and I need to replenish my flax seeds as they are so wonderful in bread

Jacqueline said...

Mmmmmm, lovely! Just perfect to be torn into chunks and dunked into soup. I am drooling at the thought. Must be lunchtime :)

Chef Dennis said...

your irish soda bread looks absolutely delicious!! what a wonderful recipe to share with us!

Juliana said...

Oh! This Irish soda bread looks yummie...with all the different flour and grain in it.

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Wow that crispy outside, soft inside combo sounds killer. Now to find the time to bake more hehe.

Ricki said...

It does look great! I've always been a fan of Irish soda bread, even before I couldn't eat yeast--this is one of my favorite types of bread. Brilliant to make it scone-style!