Irish Soda Bread

Ok... culinary confession. I've never made bread before!!!! And yes, this isn't a yeasted dough, so it's pretty "beginner" in terms of the rest of the bread world. But man, I'm pretty proud of myself! I always used to see Soda Bread in the grocery store, and promptly would walk away. Most store-bought ones that I've ever tried are heavy, dry, and not very flavorful. But I've been intrigued at the prospect of making a homemade version, mostly because I wanted to try my hand at bread, and because I really did, for the sake of my heritage, want to redeem it in my mind. I am SO glad I did. I did make this bread in honor of St. Patty's day and my heritage yesterday, but if you're looking to dip your toes in the water of bread-making, this is a great way to start. Not to mention, for a really simple bread, it is darn gooooooooood. Warm out of the oven with butter? Or jam? To.die.for. I chose to not include raisins, currants, or caraway seeds in this bread, as I wanted to be able to use it for a quick breakfast, or along side a hearty dinner. The oatmeal adds a nice heartiness, without overshadowing the buttery, slightly tangy flavor of the bread. Irish soda bread isn't just for the holiday - it's a wonderful, quick and easy bread to have around the house.

Ingredients
  • 4 C AP flour
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1/3 C oatmeal
  • 1 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1 3/4 C buttermilk, room temp
  • 4 T unsalted butter, cold, cut into small dice
Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking seat with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, oatmeal, salt and baking soda.
  • Add in the diced butter, and with your hands quickly incorporate until the butter is the size of small peas (you don't want any large chunks left).
  • Whisk the egg into the butter milk and pour the wet into the dry ingredients.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon until just a shaggy wet dough forms. (It will look wet and messy - that's how it should look! This is not a tight or "neat" dough.)
  • With well-floured hands, knead the dough into the bowl a few times and then form a round ball.
  • Place onto the cookie sheet, pat down a bit, and cut a large X in the center of the dough.
  • Sprinkle a bit of extra oatmeal over the top and place in the center of the oven.
  • Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until deep golden brown.
  • Cool for 10-15 minutes, then serve.

Enjoy!
~K