Friday, March 25, 2016

(new year's res) Baking Bread #1

One of my (many) new year's resolutions is to bake four loaves of bread in 2016. And since I love nothing more than making a brash justification and blurring the definition of what "bread" really is just to be able to check off another item on my personal resolution list, I spent an afternoon baking an Americanized version of an Irish bread shaped like a British pastry. Why, you ask? Well, it all started with a deep moment of nostalgia for the Irish soda bread I grew up eating at my best friend Terri's house at their annual St. Patrick's Day dinner. While my Sicilian/Italian family paid more attention to the following day's St. Joseph's Day celebrations, Terri's family was more than happy to indulge in their Guinness-drinking, limerick-making Irish heritage. And as a result, each year her mother would make the entire traditional feast - corned beef and cabbage, potato soup, and the heartiest soda bread this side of the Atlantic. I haven't been able to partake in their dinner in quite some time (thanks, work schedule), but I found myself thinking of those nights around her dinner table in anticipation of this year's St. Patrick's Day.

I had to work on SPD this year and knew that I wasn't going to be able to commit to the full menu - but the soda bread was something I could handle. This would be my first time making the heralded bread, so I took to the internet for guidance and inspiration - only to discover that there are about a million different "authentic" family recipes that each claimed theirs was the "true" Irish soda bread. Ok, so I'll just ask Terri's mom for her recipe, that'll solve my problem! But I unfortunately didn't plan ahead and decided to start looking up recipes about five minutes before I left for the grocery, and didn't have time to wait for a response. I started to fret. How was I going to pay my respects to the patron saint of Ireland?? Then I remembered the gold mine that is Smitten Kitchen. Ahh yes. That's where I'll find my recipe!

And find a recipe I did - one that looked delicious, not-too-complicated to make...and was for an Americanized version of Irish soda bread. In scone-form. But whatever. I've learned to put my trust in the wise words of Deb Perelman, and figured that if this soda bread was good enough for her, it'd be good enough for me (which, obvi, it so was). So there you have the story of my first of four loaves of bread made in 2016, even though the loaf of bread I made was neither a loaf nor a bread ;)

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