Raise your hand if you are Irish. When St. Patrick’s Day approaches…everyone is Irish, even if they are not. The irony is that the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, wasn’t Irish either.
But who wouldn’t want to be Irish when the short season of St. Patrick’s Day arrives? It’s a time to gather, the weather warms, and the days are longer. The bars turn into pubs, stouts and ales flow from the tap, and everyone looks good in green.
There are always musts on the house menu during St. Patrick’s Day. Corned Beef at least thrice; sliced, hashed and between rye. A soup or stew often with potatoes and leeks. And an Irish Soda Bread. Made with buttermilk, baking soda, flour, and salt. It is a denser bread with a small crumb. It is not a bread to be eaten on its own, it is more a vehicle made for topping (think Irish butter, honey and jam) and sopping (soups and stews).
Irish Soda Bread is the bread for anyone who has a bread baking phobia. It is in the oven in under 30 minutes. And no yeast – so no need to stress about the rise. This is my kind of bread. And although granola isn’t Irish, maybe during St. Patrick’s Day season it is? Irish Soda Bread with For Good Granola mixed in anyone?
For Good Granola Irish Soda Bread
Yields: 10-inch round loaf
note: This bread stays true to traditional Irish Soda Bread with the granola just adding a texture variation, but not a sweetness. It is a neutral bread that could be lightly toasted for breakfast (with a slather of butter and jam) or used to soak up a savory soup.
1/2 T coconut or canola oil
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus 4 T more for dusting in bowl
1 cup cake flour
3 T granulated sugar
1 1/2 t baking soda, sifted to remove any lumps
1 t cream of tartar
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t cinnamon
2 T unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 cups For Good Granola, Original Blend, broken into small pieces
1 egg, well beaten with 1 T water for egg wash
1 T butter, melted, to brush on baked bread
Place oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a 10-inch cast iron skillet with coconut or canola oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk to combine all-purpose, cake flour, sugar, baking soda (well sifted with no lumps), cream of tartar, salt, and cinnamon. Break butter up into 8-10 pieces and scatter on top of dry ingredients. Work butter into flour mixture with fingertips until texture resembles a course crumb.
Add buttermilk and stir with fork until dough comes together. Add granola to bowl and fold in using a rubber spatula just until incorporated being careful to not overmix. It will be a fairly wet and tacky dough at this point. With the dough still in the bowl, dust the top with 1 tablespoon of flour. With floured hands, flip the dough a quarter turn and add an additional tablespoon of flour. Repeat 1 to 2 more times turning and dusting with flour until dough is no longer tacky on the exterior (it will still be tacky on the inside) and you are able to roughly knead into a round in the bowl and transfer to the greased cast iron.
Using a serrated knife, cut a cross shape into the top. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Let cool to just warm, about 30 minutes, before cutting.
If you are Irish, thank you. Thank you for welcoming us non-Irish into your clan for the season of St. Patrick's Day. And to everyone, Irish or not...
"May the luck of the Irish lead to happiest heights and the highway you travel be
lined with green lights. Wherever you go and whatever you do,
may the luck of the Irish be there with you."