Friday, September 29, 2017

Irish Soda Bread in the Denver Area

Just came home from a visit to my brother who lives near Denver. You might know him from this blog as NoHandle. One of his requests for the visit was for me to bake Irish Soda Bread, which I was happy to do since it is a favorite of mine, too.

Denver airport

First I looked up what changes are necessary for baking at high altitudes, and made adjustments to the sugar, baking soda and liquid, plus preheated the oven to be hotter. Then I cut the cold non-dairy margarine (instead of butter) into the dry ingredients, measured out a combination of almond milk and soy creamer and added lemon juice (instead of the buttermilk - but it's better with buttermilk if you can tolerate dairy). Golden raisins were added to the dry mixture and tossed around to coat, then I made a well in the dry ingredients and added the wet mixture. Somehow the recipe I was using called for twice the liquid needed, so the mixture looked like pancake batter...not the look we were going for.

I added more flour...and more flour...and more flour until it looked right, then shaped it on a parchment lined baking sheet and cut the cross shape all the way through and baked it. Well, it took a LOT longer than it should have and the texture was much denser than normal. It did taste terrific, so not a waste of time or ingredients, but not the bread I was hoping for either. Went back and checked the recipe and found the mistype. Changed the amount of liquid in that post...which is many years old, so not too many have baked that recipe I'll bet. Below is the correct recipe, and some photos of the bread we ate. If you try this recipe as now written, your bread will likely be a bit lighter in texture and perhaps a bit more crumbly. You can, of course, use currants or regular raisins in place of the golden ones. Even plain with no added fruit is delicious.

Tea or coffee go really well with this. It's national coffee day or something, so treat yourself...bake some Irish Soda Bread and have it with some coffee and remember that life is good, even when there are parts of it that are heartbreaking.

Mini Golden Raisin Soda Bread Loaf
Makes one mini loaf

1 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup tablespoons sugar
4 oz. (½ stick) cold butter, in thin slices
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup dried golden raisins, plumped with hot water, then drained

Mix the dry ingredients, in a bowl. Add the butter slices  and cut in well with a fork or pastry blender. Add the golden raisins. Add the buttermilk and mix just until mostly moist - don’t over-handle. Some dry stuff is OK but the dough should be sticky. Pat into a round on a parchment-lined or silpat lined cookie sheet. Cut a cross on top all the way through. Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degree F. Tap bottom to make sure bread is cooked through. It will sound hollow. Cool a bit before slicing.

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