Happy St. Patrick's Day! Being a fan of all things Irish, we like to bake a few traditional Irish dishes this time of year. One of our very favorites is the very simple, but oh, so good Irish Soda Bread. There are many variations to the soda bread recipe, but traditional soda bread has very few ingredients. Soda bread was an inexpensive way to put bread on the table at a time when money (and often food) was scarce. Original ingredients included flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt. Most kitchens at the time had only open hearths with no oven, so soda bread was cooked in large dutch ovens or griddles. This method resulted in a loaf that was tender and dense, with a slight sour tang and a hard crust.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
3½ Cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons Caraway Seeds (optional)
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon sea salt
1½ Cups Umpqua Buttermilk
Pre-heat oven to 425°. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and stir until large, moist clumps form. Gather into a ball and knead until dough becomes smooth and holds together. Roll into a large ball and lightly flour outside. Place on non-stick cooking sheet and form into a 6" diameter by 2" high mound. Cut a 1" deep x across the top, extending to the sides. Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool. Cut into 8 wedges and serve with Umpqua Sweet Cream Butter.
Makes 1 loaf, serves 8.