One more week of winter and we've had our first, almost-measurable, snow. There is more snow in the forecast for today and tomorrow. The bad weather didn't stop the dying of the Chicago River green a few days ago. I never quite understand why they don't do that on St. Patrick's actual day. I'm not doing corned beef and cabbage as we have plans to eat out. I am baking Irish Soda bread. I've combined a few recipes to come close to my grandmother's delicious loaf. This is part Ina Garten and part Nanny's. It is wholly delicious slathered with a little butter and a little jam with a steaming mug of coffee (or tea).
Happy St. Patrick's Day to all whether you are Irish or not!!
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups flour, plus extra for raisins and candied orange peel
5 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup candied orange peel
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
1. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine on low speed for 30 seconds. Scatter the butter in and mix, on low speed, until the butter is crumbled into the flour.
2. In another bowl, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg and orange zest together. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture for about 1 minute or until flour is incorporated. Combine the raisins and candied orange peel with one tablespoon of flour and then mix into the dough. The dough will be very wet and sticky.
3. Liberally flour a wooden board and scrape the dough out onto the board. Using well-floured hands (I used a dough scraper too), knead the dough a few times and form into a rough, round loaf. Place the loaf onto the prepared sheet pan and cut an X into the top (not easy with the soft dough--I ended up cutting a rough X with kitchen scissors). Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
4. Cool on a rack. Delicious served warm or at room temperature.