How to make a Lighter Fruit Soda Bread.
IrIsh Soda Bread with Fruit.
First, please forgive me Nana and Mum, (they will be turning in their graves at the thought of me calling this Soda Bread when I am adding egg and butter). I love Soda bread and was brought up eating loads of it slathered in butter, but as I have aged I have found it to be on the rather heavy side, so this recipe makes a lovely much lighter Soda Bread.
If you donít have buttermilk handy, use one cup of whole or semi-skimmed milk (not skimmed) and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar, mix together and wallah, you have a substitute buttermilk.
If you donít have Bicarbonate of Soda, substitute one teaspoon Bicarb of Soda with
3 x teaspoons of Baking Powder instead.
Preheat your oven to 190C / 375F / 170 Fan / Gas 5
Line a flat oven tray with baking paper.
480g Plain Flour (plus extra for coating the fruit to prevent it sinking to the bottom)
4 x Tablespoons Sugar
1 x Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
1.Ĺ Teaspoons of Salt
4 tablespoons of Butter cut into 1cm cubes
400ml Cold Buttermilk (shaken)
1 x Egg lightly beaten (any size)
1 x teaspoon Orange zest (optional but lovely if you have it)
150g any dried fruit - currants, raisins or sultanas
Place Flour, Salt, Bicarb and Sugar into a mixing bowl. Combine.
(if using stand mixer use the paddle attachment)
Add the butter to the dry mix, mix together on slow until the butter is mixed in.
In a separate jug or bowl, mix the beaten egg, buttermilk and orange zest. combine.
With your mixer on low speed, slowly add the liquid to the dry ingredients
Put dried fruit into a jug. Sprinkle one tablespoon of flour into the dried fruit and combine.
Add the dried fruit to the mixture. The mixture at this stage will be extremely sticky and wet.
On a well floured surface, tip the mixture out onto it, fold the mixture in on itself to the centre gently on all four sides, gently kneading it a few times. (no more though as you donít want the air leaving the bread) Donít worry about all the extra flour, you need the flour to make the bread pliable and just dry enough to handle.
Shape the bread into a ball about 6 inches round and gently flatten it a little to Cut a cross in the top with a serrated knife (not too deep)
Transfer it onto the oven tray, brush with a little melted butter (optional) and pop it into the oven to bake for between 45 - 55 minutes. (test with a skewer to come out clean)
Allow to cool on a wire tray. If you prefer a softer crust on the outside, once it has cooled down a bit, place it in a zip freezer bag to complete the cooling process, zip the bag up as this will retain the heat and moisture ensuring a softer crust..
Serve this Soda bread with real butter and your favourite jam to appreciate the taste. YUM!