I know it's a little bit late for St. Patrick's Day, but it was cold and windy here in LA this weekend, and I wanted to curl up with tea and Irish bread. My mum didn't bring her recipe to Florida, so I'm making do with this one from the Boston Globe. It has the delicious surprise of whole wheat - definitely not traditional in my family, but really delicious and a welcome addition. I was out of white flour and had to use cake flour for the white, so this is a little different than the original, but delicious nonetheless. Also, kudos to Lauren for recommending the Lurpak butter - go out and try it - it is so delicious! This was the perfect food for a weekend spent recuperating from some sort of 24 hour bug and doing lots of laundry!
Irish Bread (also known as "Soda Bread) from the Boston Globe
2 cups whole wheat flour (I find King Arthur brand is available at regular supermarkets)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I won't be using cake flour again hopefully)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda (hence "Soda Bread")
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I increased the liquid from 1 1/3 cups and the butter because whole wheat can be dry)
1/3 cup canola oil (I used 1/2 cup of melted butter and loved it - I am not sure about oil in Irish Bread!)
2 cups golden raisins (I opt out of raisins on principle, but I realize I'm in the minority!)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients until well blended.
2. In mixer, beat the eggs. Melt the butter in the microwave, and add it to the eggs, along with the buttermilk. Slowly add in the dry ingredients to the liquid until it becomes a dough.
3. Turn the dough on a lightly floured counter and knead gently a few times until smooth. (Since you are using a mixer, you don't really need to do this as much - but I wouldn't skip it if I were mixing by hand). Turn the dough into two equal balls, and mark a cross in the top of each. I forgot this step - but it is definitely traditional - my Nana used to say it brought good luck.
4. Bake the breads for 25-30 minutes or until they are puffed and browned and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
5. Cool on a wire rack. Cut in thick slices (it will crumble if sliced too thinly). Serve with hot tea, butter and jam as a snack, or alongside a main course - it's particularly good with Easter if you do a leg of lamb!
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