Dia dhuit! Cad é mar a tá tú?
The Irish made their bread with four simple ingredients: flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt.
I wondered if the use of traditional buttermilk versus the commercially available buttermilk that is pasteurized, homogenized, and inoculated with lactic acid bacteria would change the quality of the bread.
Since I really, really, really wanted to lure the leprechauns in the oven chaos kitchen, I made fresh churned butter and I used the left over liquid when making the soda bread. The Irish Rovers made a guest appearance and while singing “come day go day, wishing me heart it was Sunday, drinking buttermilk all the week whiskey on a Sunday”, the soda bread was in the oven.
Note: I like mixing the baking soda in the buttermilk and then adding to the remaining ingredients. Chemistry 101: When the baking soda is in contact with an acid, e.g. vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt, etc., it starts to react and produces carbon dioxide, which in turn causes the bread to rise.
If you would like to get a glossy brown crust, make sure that you add steam when baking the bread. The easiest way is to preheat a baking sheet in the oven and before you are about to put the bread in the oven, to quickly pour a cup of water into the pan. This was recommended to my by the girl who is going around the world in eighty bakes. In the past, I used to put a heat-proof bowl with water in the oven during the baking of the bread.
If you do not want your bread to turn into a Blarney Stone, it is very important to wrap the bread in a fully damp cotton towel after it is out of the oven. Two days after the bread has been baked and stored only wrapped in a cotton towel, it tastes wonderful!