Monday, October 18, 2010

Brown Irish Soda Bread

I wasn’t very excited about this dish when I made it. My baby sister was attending an international dinner at school where the students were asked to bring a dish representative of their ancestral heritage. My sister has eleven different nationalities, so we struggled to find something simple and appropriate. In the end we settled on this Brown Irish Soda Bread. Not the most exciting thing, especially for a kid who is only 1/8 Irish.  Little did I know that this seemingly humble bread would become a new staple in my diet!  It smelled so good while it was baking, I cut a slice almost immediately and slathered it with cherry jam to enjoy with a pot of tea. The next morning, I toasted it and spread it with butter and mango pineapple jam. It was heaven. It’s also super easy, and versatile. This recipe calls for raisins, but I am already plotting variations for my next batch.

2 cups non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup golden raisins (also try currants, craisins, or dried cherries)
2 tablespoons non-dairy butter softened

Heat oven to 425º. Prepare a 9” round pan with butter, or canola oil spray. Combine milk and vinegar in a small bowl. Combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the oats and raisins. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and use your fingertips to mix it in until the mixture forms large crumbs. Add the milk mixture and stir until just combined. The dough will be very sticky. Knead the dough about ten times in the bowl. Place the dough in the pan and spread out to the edges. Cut a cross in the center surface of the dough, then place in the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you hear a hollow sound when knocking the bottom of the pan (It’s weird, I know, but it works). Allow to cool slightly before serving. If eating in the next few days, reheat under the broiler. Spread with your favorite jam and try not to devour it!

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