Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Soda Bread Success

This year I couldn't go home for St. Patrick's Day and I was really bummed about it.  I know a lot of you not from Emmetsburg will say "Just go to the parade in town.  It's the same thing."  No, it's not.  I don't mean to be rude but it's really not.  Emmetsburg's population quadruples during St. Pat's weekend.  We have beauty pageants  for all ages of girls from kindergarten to high school.  There's a 5K called 'Round the Loch Run.  There's every single person I've ever met in town.  There's a parade filled with people I know who will smile and wave at you.  We're the sister city of Dublin and host an Irish dignitary who is usually a member of the Irish Parliament.  This dignitary visits the schools and talks about the Irish culture.  There are a bunch of other events during the week that I can't remember.  Now, do you still think a parade in some other town is the same?  To make myself feel a little better about not being home for St. Pat's, I decked us all out in green, painted my toenails green and made soda bread.  And the soda bread actually turned out this time!  If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll remember this post where I talked about my first attempts at making soda bread and what a flop they were.  In the same post, I also talked about soda cookies.  This year I decided to try soda bread again and this year, it actually turned out!  My aunt and Godmother had emailed me a recipe for soda bread over a year ago.  I flagged it in my inbox and would think almost every day "I should make that."  I decided that St. Patrick's Day when I'm missing my family, my friends and my home was the best time to make it.  Here's the recipe:

Irish Soda Bread
 By Patrick Rooney
4 cups flour
¼ cups sugar (original recipe 2 TBS. sugar)
 1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
 1 heaping cup of raisins
 1 ¾ cup low fat buttermilk
 ¼ cup cooking oil (original recipe 2 TBS. butter)
1 egg
Combine flour, sugar, soda, salt, and raisins in mixing bowl; stir well.
In another mixing bowl add buttermilk, egg, and cooking oil; stir well.
Make well in center of the dry ingredients.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients; stir until thoroughly blended.
Turn out onto a floured surface; knead 5 to 8 times.
Form ball; place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Pat to 8-inch circle, approximately 1 ½ inches thick.
With floured knife make large cross on top of loaf to keep it from cracking during baking.
Spread top of loaf with softened butter.
Bake in preheated 375 oven 40 to 45 minutes, until golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
After removing from oven, spread top of loaf with softened butter again.
 Serve bread hot with plenty of butter. YUM!
 Makes one 8 inch loaf, or 2 smaller loaves

Sounds yummy, right?  It is!  Anyone with an Irish name like Patrick Rooney has to have great Irish recipes. Of course, I made a few modifications while making the recipe.  I only had golden raisins so I used those instead of regular raisins.  I don't know what the difference between the two raisins is anyway.  I didn't have buttermilk so I made my own by using 1 1/2 cups milk and adding 1/4 cup vinegar to it.  The bread turned out beautifully and we had it with our supper.  Steve and Nathan ate about half of it during supper while I fed Katherine.  (Steve did bring me a piece while I was feeding her.)  I was so pleased with how it turned out.  

I also found a shamrock cookie cutter Monday that I bought awhile ago.  I decided next year I would make the bread and the soda cookies.  I think shamrock-shaped soda cookies would be so cute and a perfect St. Pat's tradition.

Special note: I'm changing up my blog.  From now on, I will be writing about whatever topic interests me at the moment not just food.  There are so many things I want to write about and my decreased time in the kitchen are calling for a change in my blog.  For now, the blog will still be called "For the Love of Food" until I think of a better title (if I ever do).  I hope you'll continue to read!