Irish Soda Bread Hart

Irish Soda Bread Hart

Posted by Joseph Linscott on

* As always, you can  DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE  for the most succinct version of the instructions.



Bret Hart had (and honestly, still has) one of the best wrestling entrance songs of all time. That high pitch guitar squeal that opens it up captures the kind of energy that Bret Hart could bring to a wrestling ring. And that squeal is the exact sound your taste buds are going to make when you taste this Irish soda bread. Naming this bread, which requires the technical skills and patience of a baker, after Bret Hart, the perfect technical wrestler, just makes too much sense.


(That being said, here are some alternate wrestler-inspired names for this recipe: Orange Cas-soda Bread. Roman Raisins Bread. Raisin Ramon.)


Anyways. With this only being the third installment of our In the Kitchen series, it’s pretty embarrassing to admit that I had a lot of difficulty finding something I wanted to make and share with you this month. At first, I thought about using corned beef. But then I realized that I didn’t want to have to buy several pounds of corned beef. Well, not so much that I didn’t want to buy that much, but I shouldn’t buy that much because my body can’t eat that much.


I thought about doing something with Guinness. But then I remembered that both times that I’ve tried Guinness I hated it. I thought about doing something with some other kind of stout. But then I realized that Amy and I were trying to be good before our trip to Vegas (so that we could then be gluttons during our trip to Vegas) and that anything involving a stout would need to be rich and heavy.


There was a whole lot of contemplation that went into what to make for this month’s St. Patrick’s Day-inspired dish. (In fact, up to this point in drafting the blog, I still hadn’t decided what I was going to make. I was hoping that writing would give me inspiration. Instead, all I got was a lot of anxious worrying.) But finally, it came to me: Irish soda bread!


(NOTE: it actually didn’t come to me. I told Amy I was struggling and, during my frantic ramblings about how I could do something with Lucky Charms, she said, “Oh, remember I have that recipe for soda bread?” And so here we are.)


If you’ve never had Irish soda bread before — it’s a sweet dough mixed with raisins that uses baking soda as its leavening agent, instead of the standard yeast. Some versions have it studded with rock sugar, but Amy and I like to show some restraint when we cook… ok, we don’t, but covering the whole loaf in rock sugar (and having to go out searching for rock sugar at your grocery store) is just too much work, when the bread itself is plenty sweet.


Like, seriously, this bread feels like it should be a dessert. It’s best served griddled and then slathered in butter — preferably using our favorite, Kerrygold (because of course we have a favorite butter).


This recipe is one that Amy swears by — meaning she made it several weeks in a row last year because we just couldn’t get enough of it, until we both started getting stomach aches from all the sugar and carbs. And in the interest of full disclosure, the original recipe is from Mama Gourmand. We’ve used it as the base, with a few additions that we threw in for a little extra flair. (For instance, we’ve upped the salt a bit — both because Amy needs more salt in her diet for her blood pressure, but also because it helps enhance the flavors of the ginger, cinnamon, and citrus that we’ve introduced to the recipe.)


So, without further ado, I present to you my Amy’s Mama Gourmand’s Irish soda bread recipe.


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Irish Soda Bread Hart


Ingredients —


Dry

4 cups AP or gluten-free flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ginger

Zest of 1 orange


Wet

⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1⅓ cup buttermilk

1 egg


Sticky Boys

¾ cup raisins


Instructions —

 

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease your baking pan with butter.


Mix the all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, and egg.


Add your wets to your dries and mix until it forms a soft dough — you’ll probably need to move to using your hands at some point in order to incorporate all of the flour. Add the raisins and continue mixing until everything in the dough is wet and sticky. There shouldn’t be any dry pockets of flour, and obviously there shouldn’t be any wet pockets.


Shape your dough into a ball and throw it into your baking pan. Make sure to score your dough before putting it into the oven so that it doesn’t expand too quickly or rise out of control. (This part always makes Amy nervous, because she’s afraid she’ll mess up the depth of the score. The first time she made this bread, her scores were so shallow that nothing really happened with them during the baking process. The second time, she overcorrected and kind of flayed the top of the bread. Whoops.)


Bake for 45 minutes and then put a tin foil tent over the loaf to ensure the top doesn’t burn. Bake for another 15-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of the loaf. Enjoy with jam, butter, or on its own!

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