Happy Day-After St. Patrick’s Day! I hope everyone’s celebrations were happy and safe, and that you weren’t too hung over this morning. Growing up, my family never celebrated, or really even acknowledged, St. Patty’s Day. I learned pretty early on to yell, “My underwear’s green!” at school to avoid being pinched.
And I suppose it’s weird that we never recognized the day because … there’s a lot of Irish blood in my ancestor line, especially from my mom’s side! And you can definitely tell that we’re part Irish, too – my mom and her sister have beautiful heads of fiery red hair, as did their late father. And I suppose we’ve all been known to have a little bit of Irish temper too. On occasion. Maybe… 😉
So while many of my fellow food bloggers, like Kevin and Michelle and Lisa and Tara, have been blogging St. Patty’s Day food fare, I really have not. Frankly, I haven’t really been home to cook much over the past two weeks, so it’s just something that might have otherwise been done, but wasn’t due to circumstances.
But, I wanted at least one contribution to the holiday I never really celebrated. For the first time, I made Irish soda bread, an impressive looking loaf that is really simple and quick to throw together. Believe it or not, there’s no yeast! And no yeast means no rising, no punching down of dough, no wondering if it has really doubled in size. There’s about 1 minute of kneading, but I think that’s manageable for everyone.
This particular version was a little sweeter than most due to the dried currants. Though I’m certainly no expert on soda bread, I do understand they are not a traditional component; yet I still found them to be a welcome addition. They rehydrate in the oven and add a subtle sweet chewy note. Very nice!
Source: Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten
4 cups plus 1 tbs all-purpose flour, divided
3 tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
4 tbs unsalted butter, cold, diced
1 ¾ cups buttermilk, shaken
1 large egg
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 cup dried currants
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Combine the 4 cups flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour. This doesn’t take very long.
With a fork, lightly beat together the buttermilk, egg and orange zest in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.
In a small bowl, combine the currants with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Add to the dough in the mixer and mix on low speed until it comes together. The dough will be very wet and sticky.
Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead it a few times, then shape it into a round loaf. After you knead it, it will no longer be very sticky. Place the loaf onto your baking sheet. Lightly cut an X on top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. To serve, cut slices with a long serrated knife.