Bread of the Month: Changing up soda bread

Every year around St. Patrick’s Day, Irish Soda Bread is on my mind. It’s too bad that it isn’t on my mind more often. Soda bread is tender, tangy, slightly sweet, and served fresh with butter, there isn’t much better.

While traditional soda bread, served as a round loaf with a cross on top, represents a people and a holiday, there are re-interpretations so good one might want to consider making them all year through. I’ve dabbled in making soda bread scones, but this year I was taken by a recipe for Irish Soda Bread Muffins.

What a genius idea (thanks to King Arthur Flour)…scoop and bake muffin with all the tastes (down to the currants and caraway seeds) of a traditional soda bread.

A mix of white and whole wheat flours (I used some of the Sonoran wheat pastry flour I purchased in February were blended with sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, as well as some currants (or raisins) and a little caraway seeds (I find less is more with these to just give a little hint of the caraway flavor).

Buttermilkwas whisked with an egg and melted better until all was well-blended.

The liquids were added to the dry ingredients and all was mixed with as few strokes as possible to keep the muffins light.

The batter was divided between 12 paper-lined and sprayed cavities of a muffin pan. The finish to these was a sprinkling of coarse sanding sugar to add sweetness and crunch.

These plumped up and baked to a beautiful golden brown, filling the house with the aroma that can only be soda bread, tangy and wholesome, a quick table bread that gave as much as any yeast bread that would take hours to raise and bake.

But in muffin form, somehow an extra fluffiness that made soda bread even more of a treat, soft and tender and satisfying. And a new consideration for coffee or tea…anytime.

For the recipe, go to https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/irish-soda-bread-muffins-recipe

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