Irish Soda Bread

 

It’s St. Patrick’s Day. I am neither Irish nor religious, but I do love to make food with a theme. And, of course, I am completely on board with a holiday that is synonymous with boozing.

Now, I’m no expert (as I base my definition on the contents of a car bomb), but I generally do not care for Irish booze. Jameson? I’d rather not. Guinness? Just can’t do it. Bailey’s is an exception, but there is no way I could consume enough spiked cream to get a good buzz happening. Ew.

And about the food. I’ve never really had authentic Irish food. This is especially sad considering I visited Dublin for a week during my semester in London. But what can I say? Food is expensive in Dublin! We made do with our free hostel breakfast (toast and cereal; not exactly a full Irish) and pb&j sandwiches. That was a fun week for my colon.

I wanted to make Guinness stew and Irish soda bread, but I absolutely refuse to buy an entire case of beer I cannot stand to drink. So…I just went with the soda bread. I don’t bake a lot of bread, mostly because of that whole yeast nonsense. But soda bread just uses baking soda (kind of obvious given the name, but I didn’t really put two and two together, so there’s that). I used this recipe, figuring Ina Garten would never let me down. She may not be Irish, but she is a goddess AND she has an MBA from my alma mater, so we’re basically bff and I trust her with my life.

Ina’s recipe calls for currants, but do you know how hard currants are to find in a regular grocery store? Ok, I didn’t really look that hard, but, yeah I couldn’t find them. I used raisins instead.

I wasn’t really sure how to score the top of the bread, but I think it came out looking alright. Shall we call this rustic? Also, I learned after slicing that you’re supposed to break the loaf up into four chunks along those score marks. Whatever. I’m not Irish, remember?

Right out of the oven, this bread was, um, not great. It was extremely dry and borderline tasteless. Again, I’m a complete newb, so that might be normal. I don’t know. Maybe it just needed some Guinness stew for dipping?

I did, however, have some for breakfast the next day, and it was so much better. The crust wasn’t so mouth-shreddingly crunchy, and the interior was dense and moist and vaguely scone-like. Maybe I just like my bread a little stale, but If I make this again I’ll be sure to bake it off the day before I plan on eating it. And I will most certainly be serving it with Bailey’s-spiked coffee. Obviously.

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