Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Irish Despite The Orange

It seems disrespectful to add anything orange to food as typically Irish as soda bread, but I confess that I, a daughter of the Auld Sod, did just that and on St. Patty's Day, no less!

I added orange peel to the traditional raisins and caraway seeds.

You see, Cookiecrumb and Cranky had gifted me with some of the wonderful navel oranges from their tree, and the peel of those oranges is as good as the insides. Preparing to start the soda bread, I stopped to peel an orange for snacking, and inspiration struck.

I used my zester to peel thin strips of the vibrant orange skin, chopped the strips into half inch pieces, and mixed them into the dough. The result was deeply fragrant bread dotted with sweet pockets of dark raisins, zingy spots of orange and just a hint of caraway under all that goodness.

I was wearing green and singing "Irish Eyes" as I committed this blasphemy - I hope that will compensate enough that my Irish ancestors will forgive me.

Irish Soda Bread with Orange Peel, adapted from Gourmet magazine, October 1991

4 cups bread flour (I used all-purpose unbleached and it was fine)
1 Tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (another time, I might add just a tad more)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins or dried currants, rinsed in hot water and patted dry
1 Tablespoon caraway seeds (a bit more of these wouldn't hurt, either, next time)
zest of one orange, orange part only, cut into thin strips of about 1/2 inch in length
2 cups buttermilk

Into a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and stir in the raisins, caraway seeds and orange peel. Add the buttermilk and stir the mixture until it forms a dough. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead briefly, about one minute.

Shape two equal round loaves out of the dough and place them on buttered parchment paper on a baking sheet. (You can omit the parchment, if you want, but it makes cleanup a lot easier). Cut an X 1/4 inch deep across the tops with a sharp knife and bake the loaves in the middle of a preheated 350 degree F oven for 45-55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer the loaves to a rack to cool.

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Blogger katiez said...

I think you'll be forgiven.... Looks delicious.
And.... I got the first asparagus, the first artichokes... and the first green garlic of the season. Isn't spring grand!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

That was a long time ago, Zoomie.

Glad you're loving the "real" oranges!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

KatieZ, we are seeing those wonderful new veggies in the markets here, too. Grand is the word!

Cookiecrumb, only a week and, yes, loving is the word, too!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009  

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