What is it about comparisons that make me go from being happy as a clam to grumpy as a platypus within minutes? I was going about my day with a plan to post plain ol’ Irish Soda Bread when I saw a recipe for Irish Whiskey Soda Bread with Irish Whiskey Butter. Suddenly, this happy clam with a plan was shamefully outclassed.
Fortunately, I had recently read a post that included a recipe for Orange Rosemary Butter. I thought, “Oh, how delicious. I wonder when I’ll actually get around to making that.” It turns out feeling outclassed is my remedy for procrastination because I made it within three days.
Speaking of days, if you receive Love & Flour via email, you may have noticed this post’s email arrived in the evening rather than the morning as so often is the case. It’s not a glitch, it’s Daylight Savings Time. The extra natural daylight frees me up to take pictures of what I baked the night before when I get home from work instead of cramming everything into the weekend.
What is it about light that makes me feel happy as a clam? I really, really struggle with the dark winter months. I try to find things I like to get through them, like enjoying the holidays and watching hockey, but it’s tough. I used to think it was just the cold, but living in Florida taught me though warmth helps, the dark does me in. Now the extra light at night makes me feel as though I’ve shed a winter coat from my skin. Ahhhh… Now about that bread.
(Love) + Flour + baking soda + salt + buttermilk = Irish Soda Bread. Though the measuring, mixing, kneading, and forming took all of a whopping five minutes, I still experienced a challenge. The first loaf I made I did not bake all the way through, though I let it bake for 30 minutes and it sounded hollow when I rapped on the bottom with my knuckles. That last step was somewhat difficult to complete given bread just removed from the oven is HOT, but nevertheless I tried.
I mixed the ingredients again and split the dough into two smaller loaves. Again, I let it bake for 30 minutes and this time was much more pleased with the results. I am always somewhat concerned I’ll burn the bottom of a baked good when it bakes at a high temperature for a long period of time, so I double stacked my baking sheets. This helped the bottom of the bread brown evenly to a golden hue just like the rest of the bread. I’ve written the recipe as it is seen in the cookbook, but please keep in mind you may need to adjust your bake time (they seem to vary wildly) less you bake an entire loaf with a center filled with gummy dough. Gummi candy = good. Gummy bread = bad.
The bread was heavy, but not as heavy as I expected, and it tasted slightly sweet. Like all breads, Irish Soda Bread is best served fresh and warm. And though the majority of this post is about the bread, the Rosemary Orange Honey Butter stole the show. The butter is the perfect mix of sweet and salty, and anything made with Rosemary pleases my tastebuds a great deal. And really, what is bread without butter? Just plain ol’ bread.
P.S. – I don’t know if platypuses are grumpy. I just couldn’t think of any other way to grab your attention.
- For the bread:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1¾ cups buttermilk
- For the butter:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk.
- Stir with a wooden spoon to mix. The dough should be very soft and damp.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured counter and shape into at 8-inch round. The dough ball will not be entirely smooth.
- Place the loaf on a cookie sheet brushed with oil and cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife.
- Bake at 425 F for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- To make the butter, mix all ingredients until well blended.