Here comes St. Patrick's Day ! It's the time of year when every town has a corned beef and cabbage dinner hosted by one of the churches or the fire department or the ladies guild or the garden club, or, or ... and our town is no different. Our little church is hosting our dinner this evening and I have been charged with baking the Irish soda breads. So, I'm falling back on good old Beth Hensperger and her tome, The Bread Bible.
Just look at these beauties! I've made these breads for the past three years and every year folks tell me they're terrific ... super crusty, but chewy and moist inside ... and with the sweet Drambuie flavour and the raisins for a fruity chew, it doesn't get much better. I'm sure there is some Irish granny somewhere who would scoff at the ingredient list, but really ... jazzing up the soda bread is high on my list. Otherwise, the regular 'spotted dog' needs to be eaten right out of the oven. This bread has a higher moisture content and stays edible for hours and even overnight ... if it's stored tightly wrapped and then warmed in a damp paper bag before knoshing the next morning.
So, get busy! This bread works up in one hour if you've got all the ingredients ... the other good one is that Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread that I posted the first year I started doing the baking for the St Paddy's Day supper.
Irish Soda Bread with Caraway and Drambuie
Makes 2 – 7-inch rounds
1 ½ c. golden raisins
6 tbsp. Drambuie liqueur
2 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. all purpose white flour
⅓ c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. caraway seed
1 ½ c. cold buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Making the Bread:
- Pre heat the oven to 375° F. Line the bottom of two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
- Mix the raisins and Drambuie together in a small bowl and leave them to soak for about 30 minutes.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a deep bowl.
- In another bowl, measure the buttermilk, add the eggs and whisk gently. Add the melted butter.
- When the raisins have macerated in the booze, add them and the booze to the buttermilk mixture and stir everything together.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet stuff.
- Mix the dough just until it is moistened and holds together.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured kneading surface and knead about ten times – just until a sticky dough ball forms. Don’t be alarmed that this is a sticky dough.
- Divide the dough in half, form two balls of dough.
- Pop them onto the parchment paper and flatten them out to about 7-8 inch rounds.
- Use a serrated knife to cut X’s about ¼-inch deep in the top and pop them into the hot oven.
- Bake for about 45 minutes --- until the bread sounds hollow when rapped with your knuckle.
- Turn the baked bread onto a cooling rack and cool just a bit before serving with soft butter and honey.