Irish Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread is a variety of quick bread traditionally used in which bread soda (otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate or baking soda) is used as a raising agent instead of yeast. Traditional soda bread is made of flour, bread soda, salt, and buttermilk. Other ingredients can be added such as raisins, egg and nuts, but then it's "Spotted Dog" or "Railway Cake"!
The two major shapes for soda bread are the "loaf" and the "griddle cake", "griddle bread", or farl. The loaf form takes a more rounded shape and has a cross cut in the top. The griddle cake or farl, is a more flattened type of bread. It is cooked on a griddle allowing it to take a more flat shape and split into four sections.
Ingredients for Irish Soda Bread
- 3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450° F. Mix dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Stir in buttermilk. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Do not knead! Form into a round loaf and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Cut a deep cross into the top fo the loaf. Bake at 450° F. for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 400° and continue baking for another 20 minutes.
There are several theories as to the significance of the cross in this bread. Some believe that the cross was cut on the bread to ward off evil (the devil) or to let the fairies out of the bread. However, it was probably done to help the baking of the bread; allowing the bread to rise.
This recipe is a delicious accompaniment to your St. Patrick's Day meal. Add a pot of Corned Beef and Cabbage and you have a meal to satisfy the Irish in you.
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