Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Irish Dairy Bread

Sunday and Monday were days mostly spent at the base. I've been pretty good at packing food to take with me so that I don't starve in the blistering heat. I finished up the last of the rye rolls on Sunday and was wondering what I could make for the next day that would be fast and easy. Turns out, they didn't let me go until six thirty so making a yeasted bread was out of the question. But then, inspiration hit! Why not make soda bread? All I'd have to do was pick up buttermilk from the supermarket (there's one right next to the CBS!) and voila, in very little time, I'd have bread. Seeing as it's the nine days and all, I might as well take advantage of making dairy bread, right? Right. Anyway, as soon as I walked through the door, I turned on the oven and proceeded to look for a recipe. Almost every recipe for soda bread calls for whole wheat flour which I didn't have around. I did find a recipe for Irish Dairy Bread in the Baker's Companion and that's what I made, but I couldn't help throwing in a tablespoon of caraway seeds. :) Making this bread is much like making scones, but with a much shorter ingredient list. Eating this bread reminded me how much I love buttermilk in things. The slight tang of it is really, really good. The craggy exterior of this bread belies its smooth interior crumb, speckled with caraway seeds. Feel free to leave them out, if you want. This bread is good plain, or eaten with savory goods, such as egg or tuna salad. I'm really glad I tried this type of bread; it's another thing to cross off my baking bucket list.

Irish Dairy Bread
from the Baker's Companion

4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp caraway seeds, optional
1 tbsp softened butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Place all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.
Whisk to blend thoroughly.
Add the margarine rub into the flour until evenly distributed.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk.
Taking about twenty seconds, gently stir it in.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough several times just until it comes together.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it on to the prepared baking sheet.
Press it down until its about one and a half inches thick and cut a cross into the top.
Bake for around 35 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into it. 

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