Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Why have I never made a soda bread before?! There’s certainly plenty of Irish in my blood (though only my sister has the hair to prove it). My great-great-grandparents changed their last name from O’Flynn to Flynn when they came to America in hopes of avoiding prejudice…because Flynn doesn’t sound Irish at all…
But truth be told, I’ve never put much thought into St. Patrick’s Day. I have no problem wearing green, ever, as it’s pretty much my best color…but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. But this year I’m ready. When we moved to Portland last summer, many people told us that The Rain lasts from Halloween to St. Patrick’s Day. Clearly I don’t expect the weather to strictly adhere to this calendar…but I am hopeful. It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! We’ve almost made it!
This is not a traditional soda bread, but that’s okay! We Irish are plucky and resourceful. This bread is delicious and comes together so quickly. It’s really just a fancy-looking quick bread! You don’t need a mixer, and really you don’t need any sort of special pan, although I like a cast iron for this. Slice and toast it up with a little butter, or wrap a loaf as a gift for a friend who’s as ready for spring as I am. It’s a universal feeling, I think!
Lemon-Scented Cinnamon Soda Bread
Adapted from Running to the Kitchen
Makes one large loaf
3 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from one good-sized lemon)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons cold butter or margarine, diced
1 cup raisins
2 eggs, beaten & divided
2 cups buttermilk*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
coarse sugar for topping
Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or large baking sheet.
In a small bowl, rub lemon zest into sugar with your fingers. Combine flours, salt, sugar, cinnamon and baking soda in a large bowl.
Add in diced butter and cut into flour with either a fork, pastry cutter or potato masher until flour is the consistency of coarse meal. Add in raisins and toss until incorporated.
Combine milk and vanilla in a small bowl and then pour into large bowl with the flour. Add 1 beaten egg. Bring wet and dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead 5-10 times until dough just comes together; don’t overmix! Form into a ball and place in dutch oven or skillet.
Score bread making an “X” on top with a serrated knife. Brush bread with remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.