Thursday, March 12, 2020

St. Patrick's Day Week: It's Soda, But You Don't Drink It

You might call it a true taste of Ireland, and how appropriate on this St. Patrick's Day week! You've heard of it, it's called Irish Soda Bread, and it's delicious.  Darina Allen with the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about how to make this Irish classic.  Darina starts with a pound of Odlums Flour, which she says is available in the US, and combines it with salt, bicarbonate soda, low-fat buttermilk and cream. Darina says she combines all the ingredients in a bowl and stirs it by hand. It's a true treat of Ireland, and something wonderful to enjoy.

(Reprinted from KerryGold USA)

1 pound Odlums flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
13 to 16 ounces buttermilk (depending on the consistency of the buttermilk)
Preheat the oven to 450° F. Mix the flours in a large wide bowl, add the salt and sieved baking soda. Lift the flour up with your fingers to distribute the salt and baking soda.
Make a well in the center and pour in all the buttermilk. With your fingers stiff and outstretched, stir in a circular movement from the center to the outside of the bowl in ever increasing concentric circles. When you reach the outside of the bowl, seconds later the dough should be made.
Sprinkle a little flour on the worktop. Turn the dough out onto the floured worktop. (Fill the bowl with cold water so it will be easy to wash later.)
Sprinkle a little flour on your hands. Gently tidy the dough around the edges and transfer to oven tray. Tuck the edges underneath with your hand; gently pat the dough with your fingers into a loaf about 1 1/2-inch thick. Now wash and dry your hands.
Cut a deep cross into the bread (this is called ‘blessing the bread’ and then prick it in the center of the four sections to let the fairies out of the bread).
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 400°F for a further 15 or 20 minutes. Turn the bread upside down and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes until cooked (the bottom should sound hollow when tapped). Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf.