Friday, March 14, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

There is nothing like Irish Soda Bread. When I was a kid we'd only ever have it for St. Patrick's Day - if then. But I never realized how easy it is to make. Really ridiculously simple - though maybe the traditional recipe is more complex. Since I've only ever made it as a Vegan, I can't say. But vegan is best, so why quibble? The longest part of the process is the baking.

Irish Soda Bread
1 cup soy milk (rice milk works too)
1 T. apple cider vinegar
2 ¼ flour
2 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
heaping ¼ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
½ cup (or more!) raisins
3 t. caraway seeds (if you like 'em - for me they make the bread)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Add the vinegar to the milk and set aside to 'curdle'. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mixing the raisins into the flour coats them and keeps them from clumping all together in one place in the dough. When the oven is ready add the wet to the dry and mix just until everything comes together into a dough. Sprinkle a bit of flour onto a cookie sheet lined with silpat or parchment or just lightly greased. Form the dough into a ball, sprinkle a hint of flour on top and give it a little "x" slice across the top. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Give it a toothpick test for doneness and if it sounds hollow when you tap it, it's certainly ready. Set it on a rack to cool or the bottom might get soft.

You can also throw the dough into a loaf pan if you want more uniform sandwich slices. Just remember to grease the loaf pan so you can get it out.

If you want that old-school bakery feeling, add a drop or two of green food coloring to the 'milk' mixture. Green bread makes me think of mold, but if you get a deep enough shade it's sort of festive for St. Pat's.