In all the cooking and baking experimenting that I do, I hardly share my food with anyone outside of my immediate household. I'm not sure why, but that's just how things have happened. This week I had the perfect opportunity to share one of my Dorie recipes.
It seems like every year we celebrate my father-in-law's birthday with a traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner ... corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, etc. I asked if I could test this week's Dorie recipe on the family because our assigned Irish soda bread sounded like the perfect compliment to our dinner. And since it was the first time I'd be making soda bread, I could easily blame bad results on Dorie, or Julia, or ???
About 90 minutes before we were supposed to sit down for dinner, I stirred up my flour, baking soda, and salt with a fork. Then I added buttermilk and stirred a little more with my handy-dandy fork. When the dough was somewhat mixed together, I poured it out onto my counter and combined everything a bit better with my hands. I doubled the recipe since I'd have to have enough for a crowd, so I divided my dough in half, shaped the dough into large rounds, put the dough into pie dishes, cut an "X" across the top of both loaves, and threw it in the oven for about 50 minutes.
I was a bit worried about this recipe (probably cause I knew I'd be sharing it with family). I wasn't really sure when to take it out of the oven so I just had to trust my gut and take it out when it looked done. It also didn't look very pretty when it was done ... lumpy & bumpy with huge, open X's on top. As soon as it came out of the oven, we jumped in the car and made it to dinner about 5 minutes late. I had to quickly take photos in my mom-in-law's kitchen and then set it out to serve without sampling it ... hoping that I wasn't going to kill everyone with this not-so-pretty bread ... although the insides were much prettier ... I love dense bread.
Almost immediately, everyone started talking about how good it was. I made my plate of food, sat down & took a bite of the bread. I ate it plain and it tasted too floury to me, but everyone else was still saying they liked it. Towards the end of dinner, one of my sis-in-law's suggested honey with the bread, so I grabbed some and I LOVED it on this bread. I noticed as the night went on & the bread cooled more, I couldn't taste that strong flour taste anymore and I became a bigger fan.
This bread was SO quick & easy for me and I usually have buttermilk on hand, so I'll definitely be making this again to go with soups and other dinners. This time around I followed the recipe exactly because of the family gathering & the type of dinner that was being served. I don't think I'll be jumping in on the dried fruit variations any time soon, but someone suggested cheese and I think that would be fun. Or just "plain" again served with a favorite jam or honey.
Happy 60th Birthday!!
And finally here is the video of Julia making this bread on her PBS TV show ... the Irish Soda bread is the first 3 minutes of the video: