I always knew I had Irish blood, I just didn't realize most of it came from my mother's side of the family, namely my Grandma Fisher. Her mother, Mrs. Mary Emma Craig Sadler is from a well know Irish family in North Gower (there's even a book about the family). They were famous for their hospitality, something my grandmother definitely passed down. In searching out traditional recipes I came across this one for Irish Soda Bread. I had seen the recipe before but not really paid much attention, not really a bread baker at this point so ..... How I am kicking myself now.
My Grandmother was famous for her bread, the yeast kind. I liked it, loved the buns but my favourite was her biscuits. They tasted like no other I have ever had and I have spent countless hours looking for and testing hundreds of recipes to try and find hers. Well I think this is it, not a biscuit recipe at all but an adaptation of the soda bread recipe.
This is a really easy recipe to make, that's why I chose it to test my bread baking skills. Very little kneading, no proofing, no muss, no fuss.
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of sugar
6 tablespoons of butter (1/4 cup + two tablespoons) melted and cooled
1 3/4 cup of buttermilk-see previous post for substitute
2 tablespoons of buttermilk, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
Add buttermilk and melted butter, mix well.
Turn out on to floured board and knead for about two or three minutes.
Dust with flour as needed. Mine was really sticky and I ended up using about a half cup of flour to knead the dough.
Shape into two round loaves.
Brush with buttermilk, dust with flour and cut a cross into the tops of the bread.
Place on a parchment lined or floured baking sheet.
Bake for approximately 1 hour or until golden brown.
Add 1/2 cup of raisins while kneading to make raisin bread
Add two teaspoons of carroway seeds for carroway bread
I scorched the crap out of the bottom of mine while baking. My oven runs hot so I'm not sure if the temperature was too high at 375, I think I'll try at 350 next time. It also baked in about 45 minutes. Singed base aside, much to my surprise, it was delicious and we ate both loaves the day I made it. It is a dense, moist bread with a nice crust but not like yeast bread at all. I'm pretty sure my grandmother rolled the dough out and cut biscuits out of it. It sure tastes the same. If you wanted to try biscuits, roll it out to about 3/4-1 inch thickness, cut your biscuits and I would start checking the cooking time after about 10 or 15 minutes and it should be perfect.
I can hardly wait until one of my aunts tests this out for me to see if I have finally found the "one". It feels nice to bring an old recipe home. Enjoy.