Amid all the chaos of the coronavirus situation, I am writing from my parent’s dining room table in Central Maryland. Social distancing has led to a lot of baking and cooking from my end!
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day (one of the best days of the year), I wanted to make a fresh loaf of Irish Soda Bread. From all of the recipes that I’ve read (here and here), this is basically a bread loaf-sized cakey buttermilk biscuit made with flour, salt, butter, buttermilk, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and raisins. This sounded like a great idea, except, along with toilet paper, the grocery stores were also fresh out of buttermilk!
And because, Irish Soda Bread has to be made with buttermilk, I had to pivot… Instead of traditional soda bread, I made a riff off of Ken Forkish’s overnight white bread recipe, but with beautiful jumbo mixed raisins included in the dough before bulk fermentation…. Raisin Bread!
To prep the raisins, I soaked them in water for five minutes then drained them before adding them into the dough. This made sure they weren’t sneaking moisture away from the bread.
But here is the kicker, as I’m operating out of my parents’ kitchen, I didn’t have any of my baking tools (scale, big red pot, etc.), so this process has totally pushed me out of my baking comfort zone that I have in my little Minneapolis kitchen.
But the bread turned out great! There were plenty of raisins in the bread, each one tasting like a burst of jam. Excellent, excellent!
Overnight Raisin Bread
makes 2 loaves
- 7 ¾ cups (1000g) white flour
- 3 ⅓ cups (780g) warm water
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- scant ¼ teaspoon instant dried yeast
- 1 cup jumbo raisins (soaked for five minutes, then drained)
- Mix water and flour to autolyse; wait 20-30 minutes
- Add salt and yeast
- Mix dough using the pincer method (fold… pincer… repeat…)
- Add soaked and drained raisins
- Continue mixing a few more times until raisins are distributed
- Begin bulk fermentation for 12-14 hours, folding 3 times within the first 1 ½ hours
- Shape Loaves
- Proof for 1 hour
- Bake at 450 on baking sheets for 45-50 minutes with a bit of water in a hot pan
- Cool loaves and enjoy
We served the bread with our corned beef and cabbage this past weekend. And with the leftovers, I made some awesome grilled cheese with mayo and mozzarella… Such a nice fruity take on the bread I’ve grown to know and love.
Please practice social distancing and turn to your good friend, the oven, to make all sorts of baked treats that you may not usually get a chance to make during the week. Have a safe and healthy St. Patrick’s Day!!