What's Cooking: Pete Marczyk bakes Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread.jpg
Barb Macfarlane
Irish soda bread
Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast.

With Saint Patrick's Day one week away, Pete and Barb thought they'd try their luck with Irish soda bread, a recipe, says Barb, that's a "quick and easy Americanized version of a true Irish soda bread, which doesn't have eggs in it." The Marczyks adapted the recipe from cookbook author Linda Larsen, but while Larsen's original recipe calls for white flour, Pete recommends using whole wheat flour "which is more authentic than white flour." Barb and Pete serve the bread with churned butter (recipe follows) and hot tea.

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups raisins or currants
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup sour cream

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" round cake pan with solid shortening and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour (reserving 1 tablespoon), sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, raisins or currants and caraway seeds.
3. In a small bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk and sour cream and beat until smooth. Stir the liquid mixture into flour mixture just until flour is moistened. Knead dough in bowl about 10 to 12 times. The dough will be sticky.
4. Place the dough in the prepared pan and pat down. Cut a 4 x ¾ " deep slash in the top of the bread and dust with reserved flour. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 65 to 75 minutes; remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool.
5. Eat warm with homemade butter.

Homemade butter

No, you don't need a butter churn and big arms. All you need is a blender/stand up mixer and about 30 minutes.

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Pour cream into a food processor or blender. If you're using a KitchenAid mixer with a paddle, make sure you have plastic to cover the top, or else you'll spray liquid all over your kitchen.
2. Process for 10 minutes, or until the cream separates into butter and liquid.
3. Strain off the liquid (actually buttermilk).
4. Season to taste with salt.
5. Press butter into a small bowl with the back of a spoon to further remove liquid, or pick it up with your hands and squeeze the liquid out.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Who's Drinking with Pete.


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