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Eclecticisms: 'Twas Delish

Monday, March 29, 2010

'Twas Delish

About a week before St. Patty's day I tried to make my first loaf of soda bread. It turned out tasty, but dry. The next time I make soda bread I am going to try another recipe (probably my Mom's) and just add the raisins and caraway seeds, because they are too damn tasty to leave out.


I stayed in my comfort-zone, so this is another Martha recipe coming at you. You can find the printable version here.

I had buttermilk left over from my cinnamon bread recipe, so I was super excited that I got to use it up!


4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
2 cups golden or dark raisins
1 1/2 scant cups buttermilk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Parchment Paper! This isn't included in the list of ingredients on the recipe, but it's the kind of thing a lot of people might not have. For those of you (us) that do not read the recipe ahead of time, it always helps to have these items mentioned up front!

 I love when a recipe calls for parchment paper, because it means the sheet/pan/whatever will be super easy to wash! From what I understand, you can pretty much use parchment paper to line any sheet when baking instead of greasing it, but I'm a bit leary. I might try using it the next time I make blueberry cake.

Set your oven to 350. Line a baking (cookie) sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Begin with a large bowl with a bottom that is roughly the shape you want your loaf to be (about 8 in. across). You will be molding the loaf in this bowl later, and that just makes it all the easier. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and caraway seeds until well combined.

Next the recipe tells you to use a pastry cutter or two knives in scissor fashion to cut in butter until the mixture feels like coarse meal. Now I had no idea what the hell a pastry cutter was and I looked pretty ridiculous trying to make my butter knives work like scissors. I'm not sure why I couldn't have just sliced the butter. I'm going to have to make my Mom read my blog let us know! Anyways, I Googled "pastry cutter" and got about 400 different definitions, ranging from a pizza cutter, so someting that I used to cut up play dough when I was a kid. Here's a Google image search.

Stir in raisins until evenly distributed. (No, I did not forget that I was in the middle of giving you a recipe.)

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, and baking soda until well combined.

This is a terrible picture, I'm sorry! My camera doesn't take good pictures in artifical light, and this is an especially unflattering picture, but at least  you get the idea. Poor, dough. Anways, it was at this point that I realized that my dough was extremely dry. You pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well with a fork. It is supposed to resemble "biscuit dough". Having never made biscuits, this was not much help to me. From here you mold the dough into a loaf and transfer it to the pan. Easier said than done! I ended up sprinkling a bit of water into the dough to get the drier spots to stick. The bottom of the bowl ended up being perfect shape to use to mold the loaf, so I lucked out.

Whisk the eggs and cream together and brush onto the loaf with a pastry brush (or improvise like I did, because you don't have a brush!).

With a sharp knife or razor, incise a cross, about 1/2 inch deep, into the top of the loaf. Be careful, as the dough might want to sneak out a bit with the knife. The bread was starting to look pretty darned delicious!

 Bake, rotating halfway through, until it is deep golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center, about 70 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer bread from the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.

I used Golden raisins, but they darkened quite a bit during the baking process. I think the golden ones taste better and recommend you use them instead of the more traditional ones.

You're done! As I said earlier, it was delicious but dry. Sometimes I wish I could claim to live on a mountain and blame the altitude for my baking woes. Alas, I know someone would expose me for the rat I was.

Until next time!

Coming soon: Blueberry and Peach Pie, Mushroom and Artichoke Lasagna, and Butter Cookies with Frosting.

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At March 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM , Blogger Son of X said...

Particularly good in the middle of the night when spread liberally with Irish Butter. Mmmmmm....


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