WHERE’S THE BUTTER?

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I had a yen for Irish Soda Bread. You know the kind I’m talking about – dense, heavy, a perfect replacement for a door stop. But as I read the recipe I use (compliments of Abergavenny’s Country House Cook, Penny Lewis) something drew me away and I headed to the computer and began searching for a recipe that substituted yogurt for the buttermilk that’s a staple in Irish Soda Bread but not something I keep on hand in my refrigerator. That’s when I landed on King Arthur Flour’s recipe for American Irish Soda Bread (AISB.)

I read recipes with my stomach. If I can taste what the words are conveying, I’ll make it. Sometimes the words are better than the result, but in the case of AISB, my stomach was right on!

Not as dense as the original Irish soda bread, not terribly sweet, just-out-of-the-oven AISB cries out for a slab of butter. Bite into its crunchy crust and you immediately get to the goodness – fluffy bread, sweet raisins, and butter oozing into the crevices! As the British say – it’s so “more-ish!”

I substituted demerara sugar – a switch from the recipe’s ingredient list that included “coarse white sparkling sugar” — an item not present in my pantry.  The demerara and the milk topping gives AISB it’s personality.  Did I tell you I broke out into an Irish jig after eating just one piece?  That’s how good it was! Go ahead – dance around your kitchen as you make this easy, quick (10 minutes’ prep) American Irish Soda Bread.

Mise en Place:
Ingredients:
Soft butter for greasing loaf pan
3 cups all-purpose flour (King Arthur preferably)
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
Heaping ½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup raisins
1 large egg
1 cup milk
¾ cup plain yogurt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon demerara sugar

Utensils and Tools:
Loaf pan
Large bowl
Small bowl
Tiny bowl
Measuring spoons
Measuring cup
Whisk
Fork
Spatula or spoon
Bamboo stick
Small knife
Cooling rack
PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 375F

Soft Butter.
Lightly grease a 9”x5” loaf pan or use a loaf pan liner.

Perfect loaf pan liners.
    Perfect loaf pan liners.

(The liner above I have friends bring over from the UK. But you can order them from Amazon as well.)

 4 Tablespoons Butter.
Melt butter in the tiny bowl and set aside.

Flour. Baking Powder. Baking Soda. Salt. Sugar. Raisins.
In a large bowl, mix the above ingredients until they are well-blended.

Egg. 1 Cup Milk. Yogurt.
In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until blended.
Then quickly but gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and blend completely with a fork.

Melted Butter.
Stir in the melted butter.

Batter.
Spoon the batter into the loaf pan. Using your finger, run it along the edges of the pan, creating a well between the edge of the pan and the batter.

1 Tablespoon Milk. Demerara Sugar.
Pour the milk over the top of the batter. The “well” holds the milk onto the top of the batter and it shouldn’t drizzle down the sides. Sprinkle the demerara sugar on top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, testing for doneness with a bamboo stick. When it comes out clean, the bread is done.

Remove from oven and loosen the edges with a knife. Rest it for 5 minutes then turn it out onto a rack to cool.

Close your eyes, bite into a buttered slice and dream of far away places!

American Irish Bread

 

4 comments

    • Demerara (you can get it in Publix) is a large-grained, partially-refined sugar that has the natural caramel flavor still intact. I sprinkle it on top of cakes to give them a crunchy texture and to add sweetness, especially if I’m adding fruit to the cake.

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  1. Jann, I stopped buying cookbooks a while ago. I am when, it comes out, going to purchase it and probably 1 for Jeff and Adrianna. Then we will have a lovely dinner with our Friends and we will each make something out of the book. Love to you and father….Bruce

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