I hadn’t intended on making Irish Soda Bread tonight. I had intended to make English Muffins. My aimless Googling last night whilst cobbling together a focaccia had yielded an interesting recipe. Fantasies of a domestic goddess who blithely states that she makes English Muffins “once a week, for homemade bread every morning” swam in my head. Furthermore, New York had just been clobbered by the Boxing Day Blizzard, and domestic goddessery seemed appropriate under that pristine blanket of snow.
However, no English muffins tonight. Why, you ask? Because I forgot that I ran out of yeast. Damnit. I began trolling the internet for other recipes of something vaguely interesting I could make. Over Facebook, my mother suggested biscuits and another friend suggested Irish Soda Bread. My diet has been decidedly biscuit-heavy lately, so Irish Soda Bread from AllRecipes.com was the lucky winner.
I didn’t have margarine or buttermilk, but used unsalted butter (softening) and regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Recipes that call for softened butter are ideal, because it allows for more time sucking internet time while you wait.
Detailed here are the steps I took to create the following loaf of Irish Soda Bread:
- Went through a mental checklist of all the items I needed.
- Went to the fridge to remove the butter, that it may soften. Looked over the rest of the fridge for appetizing leftovers.
- After a full 10 minute perusal, decide against eating after all.
- Put on an episode of American Dad. It’s not funny enough to fully distract me, i.e. perfect for baking.
- Remember halfway through that I hadn’t taken the butter out of the fridge.
- Ruminated bitterly on the past, realizing that’s why I never went anywhere, that ever moment from childhood to this was just a string of moments where I forgot to take the frickin’ butter our of the frickin’ fridge, and if only I’d paid more attention to the details along the way I wouldn’t be up late at night blogging and baking for Chrissakes, and maybe that’s why my last relationship never went anywhere, if I had just–
- Took the butter out of the fridge, muttering softly to myself.
- Kept a Netflix window open while blogging / reading Gizmodo / browsing for dresses.
- Waited until the episode is over, then attempted the rest of the recipe.
- In a large bowl, I mixed together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ever so slightly softened butter.
- In retrospect, the butter could have been softened longer. I cut the butter into the flour using two knives, the same way I’ve seen waiters hack avocados into guacamole at Dos Caminos.
- I am overly proud of myself as I use the wrapper from the softened butter to grease the baking sheet.
- After stirring in an egg and a cup of 1% milk (with a tablespoon of lemon juice), the batter looks mealy, and un-dough-like. I stir in slightly more milk (sans lemon juice).
- I lightly knead the dough, despite the fact that doubt the dough. It comes together and is sticky, but undoubtably dough-like.
- I pat the dough together in a neat little ball onto the pre-greased sheet, and just as I’m ready to pop that bad-boy into the oven, I realize that I forgot to pre-heat the damn thing.
- Muttering under my breath again, I turn on the oven. The small failure eats at me as I mix together melted butter and makeshift buttermilk.
- I don’t have anything to brush the mixture onto the ball of dough, so I rub it in with my hands. You’re always alone in the kitchen, right?
- Slashing an “X” into the bread is satisfying.
- So very satisfying.
- I continue to not have a tool with which to brush the melter butter
/ fake-buttermilk onto the break as it’s baking, so I just spoon it on. It sizzles as it hits the pan, but I get to feel domestic in the process. Surely, only the Finest of Ladies take such care with their bread.
- Seriously, the cooking time on this thing is “between 30 and 50 minutes”? Seriously? Ooookay. I’ll just keep spooning on melted butter and hope for the best.
- After 45 minutes, a knife stuck into the center comes out clean, but after cutting off a piece it still seems too doughy, so I pop it back into the oven.
- Not before cutting off a crusty piece for myself and tasting though. Dang. Flakey, slightly sweet, and delicious.
- My status as a sloppy domestic goddess remains unchallenged.
- Now, perhaps, sleep may come.