Naturally Sweetened Irish Soda Bread
Serves 6 – 8
Traditional Irish soda bread is made plain, without sugar or raisins. I enjoy mine with raisins for a bit of natural sweetness; however feel free to leave them out.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet and sprinkle with a little flour; or line with parchment paper.
Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk. Use your hand to mix the dough. Spread your fingers and mix in a circular motion to keep the dough light and airy; mix just until it holds together.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, shape it into a round, and transfer on to the baking sheet. Make the round of dough no thicker than 1-1/2 inches in the center.
Using a small sharp knife, cut a 1/2-inch deep X into the top of the loaf extending almost to edges.
Bake for 15 minutes at 450°F; and then lower the oven temperature to 400°F. Continue baking until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, another 15 – 20 minutes.
Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before turning bread out onto a wire rack. Then cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.
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