Baking · Sweet Lemon

Fall Bucket List: Home Baked Bread

Originally published by Sweet Lemon Magazine, November 1, 2013 – Republished with permission.

When the leaves start to turn and the air gets that fresh, crisp bite to it that’s one of the hallmarks of autumn, I start longing for thick, hearty soups and stews.  While some people like to serve their soups and stews with rolls or dumplings, I like to serve mine with a thick slice of dense bread.

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Next on my #FallBucketList is home-baked bread.  The recipe below, for Irish Soda Bread,  is one of my favorites, because it’s fairly simple to make and doesn’t involve yeast, which can lead to a lot of frustration for novice bakers.  You can also serve this bread as a festive treat at a Saint Patrick’s Day party, so it’s definitely a recipe worth keeping for your recipe box (or book, or Pinterest board).

Equipment:

– 9” round cake pan
– A few sheets of paper towel
– Extra-large mixing bowl
– Set of dry measuring cups
– Set of dry measuring spoons
– Wet measuring cup (at least 1 cup, preferably 2 cups)
– Large cutting board or pastry mat
– Fork
– Sharp knife
– Wire cooking rack

Ingredients:

– 4 cups of all-purpose flour
– ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
– 4 teaspoons of baking powder
– ½ teaspoon of baking soda
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 3 tablespoons of sugar
– 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds (Substitution: 1 tablespoon of poppyseeds)
– 2 cups of buttermilk (Substitution: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own sour milk by pouring 2 cups of regular milk, less 2 tablespoons, and topping it up with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  Stir the vinegar in and let the mixture stand for 2-3 minutes before using.)
– About a ½ teaspoon of lard or shortening plus about the same amount of all-purpose flour

Ready, Set, Bake!

1)  Pre-heat your oven to 375°F.  While the oven is heating up, use your paper towel to grease your pan with the lard or shortening.  Once you’ve greased the pan, dust it with flour. (Tip:  If you’ve never prepped a pan before, check out this video.)

2)  Combine all of the remaining ingredients, except the ¼ cup of flour, and mix with a fork until the dough sticks together.

3)  Spread the remaining ¼ cup of flour your cutting board or pastry mat and turn the wet dough out onto it.  Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough until it’s smooth.

4)  Press the dough into your cake pan, until it fills the whole pan.  Using the sharp knife, dusted with flour, cut a ½” deep cross into the top of the bread.

5)  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the bread is GBD (golden brown delicious) and makes a hollow sound when you gently tap your fist against the top.

6)  Allow to cool on the stove top for about 8-10 minutes, then remove your bread from the pan and set it on the wire rack to cool fully.

(Tip:  While it’s warm, you can rub butter on the top and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar for a sweet and savory treat.)

7)  Slice and enjoy!  (Tip:  Store any leftovers in a Ziploc bag for up to 3 days at room temperature.)

What are your favorite #ComfortFoods?  Feel free to share them in the comments or on Twitter.  If you try your hand at making soda bread, snap a few photos and share them on Instagram, hashtag #SLBakes!

By Ally Stuart

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