White Irish Soda Bread

adapted from The New Best Recipe Cookbook
Serves 8-10
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

4 C all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 C buttermilk (or a scant 1 1/2 C milk with 1 1/2 Tbsp vinegar mixed in)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt together in a large bowl. Work the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture is like course crumbs (it only takes a minute or two, I promise).

Add buttermilk and sitr with a fork until the dough begins to come together. Turn out onto a flour-coated surface and dry to get it into some sort of ball. Knead just until the dough becomes cohesive and bumpy. This is going to be about 12-14 turns. It's going to be kind of shaggy and seem drier and less incorportated than you think it should be. You're going to think to yourself, "I have to knead this more; it's a mess." Do not knead it more. If you knead it until smooth, you'll have a tough tough loaf. Glob and gather it into a ball, then 12-14 turns. No more than 16. Seriously.

Pat the dough into a round of about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high. (You can also do 2 smaller loaves.) Place on greased baking sheet.

Score the top with a sharp knife, making an X. (I went a little crazy in my scoring. You don't have to do it so deep and crazy style like me.)

Bake until golden brown and done in the middle (about 170-180 degrees if you've got a handy instant read thermometer).

Feel free to brush the warm loaf with butter if the all-white-flour thing wasn't decadent enough for you.

Posted by The Tasty Cheapskate