Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Irish Flag Bread

I only make Irish soda bread every now and then, mainly because it's so damn good that if I made it more often, My Beloved and I might have to pay for the dreaded gym membership, something we have successfully avoided thus far. There is something magical about the combination of caraway and raisins flavoring what might otherwise be a pretty dull loaf.

With St. Patrick's Day coming soon, I gave in to the temptation to make it for the holiday. In the past, I had some oranges to add even more flavor to the bread and that was so good that I wanted to do something similar this time. I had clementine tangerines on hand so I zested one of those and one of the so-fragrant limes that pal Jeanne gave us when we were visiting her in LA - Jeanne's limes smell like the Buddha's Hand citron, flowery as well as citrusy. It also seemed perfect that the colors of the lime and the tangerine are on the Irish flag.

The result was a marvelous little round crusty loaf of Irish heaven in which the citrus played off the sweet raisins and herbal caraway flavors. The crust was crisp and chewy, the crumb tender. I cut the recipe down from last year's bread, as we only need one loaf for at least three meals. Below you'll find what I did this year; hope your St. Patrick's Day experiments are equally blessed.

Irish Flag Bread, adapted from Gourmet Magazine, October 1991

2 cups flour (I use unbleached white)
1-1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
a generous 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup raisins or currants, rinsed in hot water and patted dry
1-1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
zest of one tangerine and one lime
1 cup buttermilk (I used kefir this time)

Into a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and stir in the raisins, caraway seeds and citrus zest. 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 into a round loaf and place on buttered parchment paper on a baking sheet. Cut an X 1/4 inch deep across the top with a sharp knife and bake the loaf in the middle of a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!



Blogger Louis la Vache said...

Oh! This looks delicious! «Louis» is going to try this!

(Do you promise that eating it won't turn us into IRA terrorists?)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

<> is chez funny.

Your bread is gorgeous. What a brave combination of flavors.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

S'posed to say Louis inside the brackets, but -- damn html -- it vanished.
(How do you get those mini brackets, Louis? And all the other diacritics and stuff.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Louis, no worries, it seems all terrorists are Islamic these days, or so we are told.

Cookiecrumb, it was your oranges last year that gave me the idea.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I had a suspicion!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010  

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