Yeah, I know, this is supposed to be more of a knitting blog but I'm going to go with the cooking thing again. Because today is Irish Soda Bread baking day here at Chez Chaos.
Unlike pizza, there is such a thing as bad Soda Bread. If it is dry and mealy you don't have to eat it just because it is March. It's bad. Don't do it. No matter how much butter you put on it, it's still going to suck.
Unless you use both of the b words. Then it will rock.
Hmm...I hear your brains churning away. What could those b words be??
Butter and buttermilk. (And really, what could be better than butter and another word that starts with butter.)
I've been using the recipe from the Silver Palate New Basics Cookbook (if you don't own it, buy it--it's worth every penny) with a tiny modification.
Here's how it works.
Before you do anything, take a stick of unsalted butter out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
When it is soft, put two tablespoons of it in the microwave for a minute to melt. Let it cool to just about room temperature.
Take your round cake pan (about 8 1/2 inches) and trace it onto a piece of wax paper. Now smear two more tablespoons of butter onto the bottom and sides of the pan (it will seem like a lot). Put the circle on top of the butter on the bottom of the pan.
Next sift together 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon baking powder.
Add 3 generous handfuls of raisins to the flour mixture and toss to coat.
In a separate bowl beat 2 large eggs. Add in 1 3/4 cup of buttermilk and the melted butter. Whisk it all together.
Pour the liquid into the dry and add 1 tablespoon caraway seeds or more if really love them. Mix it all together with your wooden spoon until it just comes together. Don't get crazy but make sure that all the flour is mixed in.
Dump it (when you do this you will understand why dump is the correct word here) into the prepared pan and smooth it out a bit. Dot the top with 2 more tablespoons of butter.
It will look like this.
Bake it at 350 degrees for an hour. I always put it on a sheet pan because if you don't you'll end up with butter on the bottom of your oven and that's just no fun. And it doesn't smell too great either. Turn it around half way through baking and start checking it at about 50 minutes.
By the time it's done the house will smell divine and the neighbors will be banging on your door with their teacups.