Soda Bread Sorrows

1,635
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Joined Aug 14, 2000
In honor of my Irish blood I am playing with soda bread. Here is the recipe I started with. It is from Cook's Illustrated.

CLASSIC IRISH SODA BREAD
Yields 1 loaf

3 cups bleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400
degrees. Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in
large bowl. Work softened butter into dry ingredients with fork or
fingertips until texture resembles coarse crumbs.

2. Add buttermilk and stir with fork until dough just begins to come
together. Turn out onto flour-coated work surface; knead until dough
just becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until
dough is smooth, or bread will be tough.)

3. Pat dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high;
place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet or in cast-iron pan
(see "A Nod to Irish Tradition," above). Cut a cross shape into the top.

4. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into center of loaf
comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, 40 to 45
minutes. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter; cool to room
temperature, 30 to 40 minutes.

The crumb appears to be rather dense and moist. Although the internal temperature was 180, it seems almost underdone. There is also a metalic/amonia aroma to it. It tastes alright but I think I need help. Any expert advise would be greatly appreciated :)
Kyle

[ March 16, 2001: Message edited by: KyleW ]
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
Cook's Illustrated is usually right on the money. But I would double the butter to rub in, get rid of the cream of tartar, cut the soda to 1 tsp and use 2 cups buttermilk and all ap flour, no cake flour.
 
1,635
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Joined Aug 14, 2000
Other than that they were spot on! :)

It's in the oven. I'll file a full report.
Thanks for the help,
Kyle
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
I made two of these yesterday to bring to a brawl at my wife's aunt's house and I noticed it was a little wet. Of course it was still steaming when I brought it in the door. After a couple of hours that went away. Maybe it needed a little longer in the oven at a lower temp. We brought most of one home, and I'd have a toasted slice right now, but I have a cancer screening in the morning, so I can't eat till noon tomorrow, and I'M HUNGRY.
 
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Joined Mar 4, 2000
You definitely have to wait for it to cool to get a good texture and aroma. Ifyou want it warm, slice it and reheat the slices. I'm glad it came out good.
 
1,635
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Joined Aug 14, 2000
I think I'm going to combine a little less buttermilk with a little more oven time. Who'da thunk that soda bread would present such a challenge?
 
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Joined Feb 6, 2001
Hi KyleW: I used the same Cook's Illustrated Irish Soda Bread recipe as you did. I used my thermometer on it, at 180F it came out with batter on it! It was over-browning so I covered it with foil. Even after cooling - it had a slight sticky centre portion. I also made the recipe from Saveur March, 2001 and found it to be superior. The suggestions that you were given to tweak the Cook's Illustrated are all here in the Saveur recipe. Here it is for you.
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup raisins
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425F. Sift together the flour, sugar, slat and baking soda into a large mixing bowl.
Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, work butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, then stir in raisins.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir. Dust hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf.
Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet. Using a serrated knife, score top fo dough about 1/2" deep with an "X". Transfer to oven and bake until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped with a knife, about 40 minutes. Transfer bread to a rack to let cool briefly. Serve bread warm at room temperature or sliced and toasted.
 
1,635
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Joined Aug 14, 2000
The less than pleasant aroma is gone. The flavor is great (nothing that a little exra butter can't help). It still seems kinda "wet". What happens if I knock the buttermilk back to 1 3/4 cups? Thanks for your guidence!
Kyle
 
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
I have a small confession to make. I was looking at Saveur when I posted those amendments.I don't normally read it but my boss gave me a couple of copies to take home for the weekend.
 
1,403
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Joined Jan 1, 2001
I made the Savuer recipe and substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour for white. It baked up a crispy crust, tender crumb and great flavor with kind of a rustic feel. that recipe's a keeper.
 
1,635
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Joined Aug 14, 2000
I will have to give the Saveur recipe a shot. Interesting that it calls for an even higher oven temp. The nice thing about soda bread is that it allows for a great deal of experimentation. Can you imagine all this tweeking with a yeast bread that needs to rise 2 or 3 times :eek:

BigHat: I am reassured that I am reading the right magazines ;)
 
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Joined Nov 5, 2000
Going to have to post the Nutty Irish Soda Bread recipe I made for St Pat's...it was absolutely delicious and I didn't have to insert a therm for 180 degrees...just said to turn it over and knock on it to make sure it sounded hollow. Had a lot of buttermilk...was so yummy.
 
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