This is…dare I say it… easy?
Well, it is. Easy. Easy. Easy. There is no yeast, no rising, no kneading, no worries.
This is not a traditional Irish Soda Bread and according to this website, I made more of a cake, but I assure you, this is not a cake but a hearty loaf of bread. Wanna know something else I learned from this website? That there is a Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread…who knew!!?? I love it. However, I totally broke all of their rules. Therefore, I won’t label it Irish, because I don’t think they would appreciate it. Not being traditional and all. Even though I am part Irish….I don’t think this is what my ancestors were whipping up in their kitchens decades/centuries ago in Ireland. They should have though…it is darn good!
While at my parent’s house recently, I devoured a whole loaf of this stuff. Well, not exactly this, but something similiar. It was so good, that when I got home, I didn’t let much time pass before I had to make my own. The orange zest provides a mild orange flavor and pairs wonderfully with the sweet/tartness of the dried cranberries.
I prefer to enjoy this sliced thick and toasted ( because toast is awesome!) with a smidgen of butter with a side of strong coffee. It has been my mid-afternoon snack of late. Or as a midnight snack, standing at the counter, slicing off small pieces, one by one, because if you eat only small pieces then it never truly adds up to a full slice…right?!? It is a good thing that only a speechless cat witnesses these odd habits.
Orange Cranberry Soda Bread
Makes 1 Round Loaf
Adapted from Saveur
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter ( 4 Tablespoons)
1 Egg, lightly beaten
2 Cups Buttermilk, well shaken
Zest of 1 Orange
1 Cup Dried Cranberries mixed with 1 Tablespoon Flour
1 Egg whisked together with 2 Tablespoon Water
1-2 Tablespoon Sugar
Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a cast iron skillet.
Sift together both flours, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Cut butter into pats and then, with a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into the dry ingredients. Continue to do this until the butter is pea sized or smaller. Stir in the cranberries and orange zest.
Make a large well into the dry ingredients. Into the well, pour the buttermilk and lightly beaten egg. With a wooden spoon, begin to mix the ingredients together until it becomes difficult/too stiff to stir. At this point in time, flour your hands, and finish mixing with your hands – slightly kneading the dough until it forms into a rough ball.
Turn dough out on to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round ball of dough. Place dough into prepared cast iron skillet. With a serrated knife, cut an ‘X’ into the top of the dough, about 1/2 inch deep. With a pastry brush, liberally brush on the egg wash ( you will not use it all) and then sprinkle the top with 1-2 Tablespoon of sugar. Place cast iron skillet into oven and bake for about 45 -50 minutes, until the bread turns golden brown. If you tap the bottom of the loaf with a knife, it will sound hollow when done. Remove from oven and transfer bread to a wire rack and let cool.
You can enjoy this straight from the oven, cooled, or toasted. It is good at any point in time! Store in an airtight container. This can also withstand the freezer. If you find yourself with leftover/stale bread, it is perfect to use in bread puddings or baked french toasts. Scrumptious!
P.S. If you do not have a cast iron skillet then a cookie sheet will work just as well, Also, if whole wheat flour is not available, go ahead and use 4 cups all purpose flour. No biggy.
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