Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Soda Bread

Peruse our kitchen shelves and you will find a notebook, with recipes handwritten by my mother in inside. The notebook is worn, stained in some places, indented from her firm handwriting, the pages hand numbered and covered in blue ink. Opening this notebook feels nostalgic. I trace her handwriting, which I always tried to copy when I was younger, and picture her carefully copying down each detail from the recipes she gathered over years. My eyes flit over the table of contents and I fondly remember No Bake Cookies (a well-loved page), ponder over why we've not made the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cream Pie and wonder if I can ever read "Chile Rellanos" without pulling a sour face. Of all her possessions, this notebook is easily my favorite.

In the third grade, we had to do a project on a country. I was given Ireland and had to include information on the country's people, climate and culture. One of my favorite parts, aside from coloring a gigantic Irish flag, was finding Irish recipes. I find these recipes in the pages of my mother's notebook, nustled between Tamale Casserole and the Autumn favorite Pumpkin Roll.

Today was the first time I referenced those Irish recipes since third grade. St. Patrick's day seems a worthy occasion to whip up some Soda Bread.

Soda Bread
4 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c buttermilk*

*can be made with regular milk and vinegar: just add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup measuring cup and fill it the remaining way with milk. Adjust for the amount of buttermilk needed. Let milk and vinegar stand for five minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk dry ingredients until well combined and free of any clumps of flour or baking soda. Add milk to the bowl and mix until a loose dough forms. Place the dough on a floured surface and kneed the dough until smooth.

Form dough into a round disk two inches high. Score the bread with a large X on top.

Place dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.



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