If you want an easy bread to make for a crowd, Irish soda bread is hard to beat. Since it uses soda as a leavening agent instead of yeast it takes less time to make. A slice of this hearty bread tastes so good alongside a bowl of your favorite soup or stew. I enjoy that first slice fresh out of the oven, warm and crusty. Even toasted with butter and honey is a treat. While looking around other blogs I stumbled across some inspiring ideas. My favorite was a grilled cheese sandwich from justataste.com. It looked amazing and although I didn’t make Kelly’s grilled cheese, I did toast a few slices and topped them with a spinach pesto, fresh mozzarella, tomato slices and bacon bits for a tasty bruschetta.
With floured hands form the dough into a mound that will fit an 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet. Place the dough in the skillet and with a sharp knife cut a 3/4 inch slice across the dough in the form of an X.
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup Cake Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Cream of Tatar
1 1/2 tespooons Salt
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks plus 1 tablespoon melted Butter for brushing top crust
1 3/4 cups Buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients of flour, cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Cut 4 tablespoons butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter to combine butter until well mixed and butter is no larger than the size of a small pea. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk. Use a fork to work the ingredients together. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of buttermilk and mix until a dough forms.
Form the dough into a mound that will fit into an 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet. Use a sharp knife to cut a large X across the top of the loaf approximately 3/4 inch deep. Bake for 40 minutes or until the crust is brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Brush melted butter over the top of the loaf. Cool for a few minutes, slice and serve. Bread tastes best if eaten on the day it is made.
Makes 1 (8 inch) round loaf