Sunday, June 13, 2010
Irish Soda Bread and Kittens
Time for a quiz: What is the absolute cutest thing in the world?
Err... not Irish Soda Bread, if that's what you were thinking. That would just be awkward.
The answer to this question that I was looking for is: kittens! But um... there's one thing that a lot of people fail to think of when they say "awwww, how cute!", and that would be how much sleep kittens steal away from you.
My family rescued three kittens from the side of the road a week ago, and while we work on finding homes for all of them, they are living in my room. Two nights ago, they decided that the perfect place to play kitten games would be right next to my face. At three o'clock in the morning. While I was trying to sleep.
Don't get me wrong - these kittens are incredibly adorable, and I'll be sad to see them go, but the lack of sleep is definitely catching up with me. I was such a zombie yesterday that I couldn't even focus enough to figure out how to half a cookie recipe properly. I ended up staring at the ingredient list for five minutes in a sleepy stupor, then giving up the baking endeavor entirely.
This whole experience has made me gain an even larger appreciation for new moms, because they deal with sleepless nights for years. I'm in awe. So props to you, moms, I admire how you can be so sleep deprived but still act fully functional in society.
But even for the bakers out there who are a bit sleep deprived, I think anyone can make this Irish Soda Bread. I made it a few days ago to serve with dinner, and it was so easy! No yeast or extensive kneading required, and the whole project took less than an hour start to finish. It tasted delicious, and looked so rustic and pretty - sort of like a really, really giant biscuit. Yum!
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Print This Recipe!
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon melted butter , optional
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and adjust a rack to the center position. Place the flours, soda, cream of tartar, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour using your fingers until it is completely incorporated and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk. Work the liquid into the flour mixture using a fork until the dough comes together in large clumps. Turn the dough onto a work surface and knead briefly until the loose flour is just moistened. The dough will still be scrappy and uneven.
2. Form the dough into a round about 6 to 7 inches in diameter and place in a cast iron skillet. Score a deep cross on top of the loaf and place in the heated oven. Bake until nicely browned and a tested comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with a tablespoon of melted butter if desired. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.