My favorite holiday that’s not Christmas or Thanksgiving is coming up! No, not the one that you drink green beer and hit your local bar at 6 a.m. in your effort to be drunk by the time the morning news is on. The OTHER one; the REAL St. Patrick’s Day.
The one where your mom puts on the Irish Rovers and we pretend we know how to jig. The one where you eat piles of corned beef, lots of potatoes, a few carrots, and skip the cabbage. And yes, the one where you eat Irish Soda Bread JUST so you can slather it with butter. That is the St. Patrick’s Day I will be celebrating. Won’t you please join me?
Classic Irish Soda Bread (minus caraway seeds and raisins)
from Cook’s Illustrated
3 cups bleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1-1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 tablespoons softened + 1 tablespoon melted)
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl.
3. Work softened butter into dry ingredients with fork or fingertips until texture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork just until dough begins to come together.
5. Turn out onto flour-coated work surface; knead until dough just becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until dough is smooth, or bread will be tough.)
6. Pat dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet or in cast-iron pot, if using.
7. Place the loaf on a cookie sheet and cut a cross shape into the top.
8. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into center of loaf comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter; cool to room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes.