As most of you know, I am one of very few people in this country who is not the least bit Irish. I know, I know, “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.” Well, instead of pretending, I’m handing the reigns over to my dear friend Katie for my very first guest blog post. She’ll take good care of you. So, without further ado….
Top o’ the mornin’ to you loyal Kat in the Kitch readers. Did you come to Katrina’s blog for a delicious St. Patrick’s Day recipe and a healthy dose of humor? Well, I can’t promise the latter, but I’m hoping to entice you with an Irish classic done right. You’re justified in asking, “Who’s ‘I,’ and why should I believe that whatever she makes me bake will be edible?” Well, I am Katie, Katrina’s brother’s girlfriend, provider of the chocolate from Madagascar that was featured in that torte recipe you so adore…and you should trust me because, well, the recipe I’ll be sharing with you is from Martha Stewart Living, and you would trust Martha, wouldn’t you? PLUS, I’m Irish! So I have to have some wonderful insight on what makes for delicious Irish fare, right?
To be honest…I’m about as Irish as Geraldo Rivera is Hispanic (three generations and a few odd ball relatives to thank for that), and I’ve always had a bit of a gripe with my heritage, for several reasons. 1) When I was in my vulnerable teen years, the red hair and freckles got me a) some corny nickname like Scarlet O’Hara or Raggedy Ann from smelly, creepy old men, or b) a fair amount of torment from one of about seven middle school boys who I’d STILL like to punch in the nose… 2) Our “classic” meal consists of corned beef, which I don’t eat because I am a vegetarian… and cabbage, which I avoid because it makes me gassy… And 3) the reputation for being able to put ’em down only gets me into trouble.
So after all that complaining, (did I mention the agonizing sunburns?), I bet you’re still wondering why the heck I was asked to be a guest blogger, and what the heck kind of recipe I could be blogging about! It’s not beer. It’s not potatoes. Have you guessed it yet?
Irish soda bread! This bread has renewed in me a sense of Irish pride… but seriously, let’s forget about me.
This lovely, lumpy loaf of bread is really yummy, I promise. The only grievance I had with the recipe was that it called for ¼ cup of caraway seeds… and those little buggers don’t come cheap! But, I have to advise, don’t skimp on the seeds! One of the compliments I received on this bread came from the main lady’s mom herself, Mrs. Svoboda, and it went something like, “This bread has the perfect amount of caraway seeds.” So there you go. Don’t be stingy. I’ve also heard that Craisins make a nice substitute for raisins… but I’m a stickler when it comes to following the recipe verbatim. So, the choice is yours.
Now, I know Katrina likes her food lookin’ pretty–unfortunately, this bread isn’t so. It’s kind of like me in middle school. Awkward looking, boys might not want to try it, but if they do, they’ll realize how beautiful and wonderful it is, and they’ll keep coming back for more. At the end of her recipe, Martha made sure to say, “Irish soda bread is best eaten the day it is made.” So get baking!
Irish Soda Bread
From Martha Stewart Living, March 2009
Makes 1 Loaf
1 1/3 cups whole milk (If you have some that is headed south, here’s your opportunity to waste not.)
1/3 cup apple-cider vinegar
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
2 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
¼ cup caraway seeds
1 cup (5 ounces) raisins
Salted butter for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Mix milk and vinegar in a small bowl, and let stand until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in unsalted butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add bran, caraway seeds, and raisins; stir to distribute.
Pour milk mixture into flour mixture; stir until dough just holds together but is still sticky. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat and press the dough gently into a round, dome-shaped loaf, about 7 inches in diameter. Transfer to a prepared sheet.
Lightly dust top of loaf with flour. With a sharp knife, cut an X into the top, ¾ inch deep. Bake, rotating halfway through, until loaf is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.