Editor’s note: Kayleigh is on family leave following the birth of her daughter Laila Reè Baig on Dec. 6. We are reprinting some of our favorite “In the Kitchen” columns while she is on leave. This one was originally published on March 14, 2014.
It’s that time of year again. The leprechauns are out and the beer is flowing. I hope you’ve got your corned beef brining, ready for St. Patrick’s Day Tuesday.
There is no better companion for your corned beef and cabbage meal than homemade Irish soda bread. Store bought is not the way to go this year. Making this at home is actually a breeze and the results are phenomenal.
A quick bread made traditionally in the poor country it uses simple ingredients, including baking soda as a leavening agent instead of typical bread yeast. Combined with sour milk to activate the baking soda and salt to give the bread some rise and, of course, its traditional texture and flavor.
Irish soda bread began to appear in Ireland only in the mid-19th century when bicarbonate of soda was first introduced. Traditionally it is served warm with a nice smear of butter. I recommended splurging on a good Irish butter, Kerry gold Irish brand butter is a good choice. Remember Irish soda bread isn’t only for dinner, it can be enjoyed any time of the day and makes for a nice treat with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
In my recipe for homemade Irish soda bread I use sour cream instead of buttermilk. I find that more often I have this available in my fridge than buttermilk and it gives the Irish soda bread a nice texture. Also using cake flour gives the bread a nice crumble and helps with the texture of the finished product If you do not have cake flour, all purpose flour will do just fine.
Kayleigh’s Homemade Irish Soda Bread
Yields: 1 loaf
4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
16 oz. sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
9 oz. package raisins
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
Milk for brushing
• In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Using your fingers or a fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles sand. In a separate bowl combine the sour cream and the lightly beaten egg. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined. Do not over mix. Stir in the raisins and the caraway seeds.
• Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, gently knead the dough until it is smooth. Do not over work the dough, just knead until the dough is smooth and comes together. Form into a ball and place on a greased baking sheet. Pat into an 8 inch round loaf. Cut a 4 inch cross about 1/4 inch deep on top to allow for expansion. Brush the loaf with milk.
• Place in a preheated 375 degree oven in the bottom rack for 1 hour. The bread will get very golden brown and form a nice outer crust. Serve warm with butter.
Kayleigh Van Vliet Baig was born and raised in Riverhead, where she lives with her husband Tahir and their two dogs.
Kayleigh is in her third season as Sous Chef at a private kitchen in Southampton. Not only is she second in command but her main focus is on creating, preparing and executing cold dishes such as salads, hors d’œuvres, appetizers, canapés, pâtés and terrines. Kayleigh has been in the culinary industry for the last 15 years, working her way up in kitchens on the East End. She also is a personal chef.
Look for In the Kitchen with Kayleigh every Saturday on RiverheadLOCAL.com.
Got questions? Recipes? Ideas?