Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dark Irish Soda Bread

Usually I made our tried and true Brown Butter Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day, but I thought I'd try something new this year. So I picked this dark bread with caraway seeds in it (I love caraway seeds - they are what makes rye bread taste the way it does). It was super fast to make, as most soda breads are, and was very yummy. I missed the brown butter bread though. It was nice to try something new but I think we'll stick with our regular recipe from now on.


Dark Irish Soda Bread
Washington Post, March 5, 2008

This soda bread gets its appealing brown color from molasses and whole wheat flour. The flour used here is the traditional whole-wheat flour that is made from red-wheat berries.

It's best eaten on the same day it is made, but it tastes great toasted the next day. The bread can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost with the wrapping on so that any condensation will form on the foil and/or plastic, and not on the bread itself.

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (plus softened butter for greasing the baking sheet)
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, plus more for the baking sheet
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon molasses
1 cup low-fat or regular buttermilk

Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with softened butter, then sprinkle lightly with whole-wheat flour; tap to discard any excess flour.

Combine both flours, brown sugar, caraway seeds, baking soda and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Mix to combine on low speed; add the melted butter.

Combine the molasses and the buttermilk, then add to the mixer bowl, on low speed; beat for a minute or two, until a soft dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball and roll it around in the palms of your hands to smooth it; the dough will not be perfectly smooth. Form into an 8-inch long oval and place on the prepared baking sheet. Use a smooth-edge knife to cut a slash about 5 inches long and about 1 inch deep along the length of the loaf.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the bread feels firm and crisp and you can see that the bottom has browned when you lift it carefully. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Yield: 1 loaf

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