Don't Kiss Me, I'm Irish: Soda Bread Recipe
Today, St. Patrick's Day, falls into the same category for me--a day of clichéd Irish culture and exaggerated Irish heritage embodied by wearing green and the excessive intake of Guinness and Jameson, corned beef and cabbage. Logic would dictate that Bastille Day in America should be spent eating cake, wielding pitchfork-shaped balloons and swilling Bordeaux. Its all so wrong in so many ways.
Like many Americans, I'm part Irish, my Furey ancestors coming to America to escape the Potato Famine. So while I won't be wearing green today or insisting that anyone kiss me simply because of my heritage, I figured I'd be remiss if I didn't throw an Irish-influenced recipe your way. But we'll be wholly avoiding clichés--not brisket, no cabbage--and instead looking at a staple of Irish eating: soda bread.
Adapted from Bon Appétit
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease a baking sheet with a bit of butter or oil
Mix together the dry ingredients--flours, brown sugar, salt and baking soda--in a bowl. Using your fingertips, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients, breaking down the chunks of butter until they've dispersed throughout the flour mixtures.
Stir in the buttermilk and mix until incorporated, making a barely formed batter. Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and kneed together until the batter smooths out, just about ten turns or so.
Form into a rounded loaf, about nine inches across, and place on the prepared baking sheet. With a knife, cut a half-inch-deep X across the domed top of the loaf. Bake for an hour or until the loaf is well-browned and finger tapped against its bottom side yields a hollow sound. Transfer to a rack to cool.