Irish Soda Bread

by Michael on March 15, 2015

Irish Soda BreadIngredients
• 3 to 3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
• 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
• 1 Tbsp sugar
• 1 Tbsp salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 4 Tbsp butter
• 1 cup raisins if used
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 cup Beer

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk together 4 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl.

2. Work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, then add in the raisins, if using.

3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten egg, Beer and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Note that the dough will be a very sticky, and look lumpy. It will almost have the consistency of mashed potatoes. I know it sounds weird but it is very wet and sticky. Gently knead dough just long enough to form a rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with,  flour your hands. Do not over-knead! You want to work it just enough so that the flour is just moistened and the dough just barely comes together. If you over-knead, the bread will end up tough.

4. Put the dough into a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet (it will flatten out a bit in the pan). Score top of dough about an inch deep in the shape of a cross “to keep the evil spirits out of the bread”. The purpose of the scoring is to help heat get into the center of the dough while it cooks.

5. Put in the oven and bake until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-40 minutes. (If you use a cast iron pan, it may take a little longer)

6. Remove pan or sheet from oven, let bread sit in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool briefly. Serve bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted. Best when eaten warm and just baked.

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