Spruce up your St Patrick's Day with black currants with this recipe from pages of The Back in The Day Bakery Cookbook (Artisan Books, 2012) by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day of The Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia.
Irish Soda Bread with Black Currants
Makes one 7-inch round loaf
A hearty, savory loaf
More than forty thousand revelers descend upon Savannah every year to get their green on through a week of festivities that culminates in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. We make this traditional soda bread every March in honor of the holiday. The object here is speed: when making soda bread, you should have a quick, light hand for both mixing and kneading the dough.
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup dried currants
1 ½ cups buttermilk
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly flour a baking sheet.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, oats, baking soda, salt, and currants. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add 1 cup of the buttermilk, and mix with your hands. Continue to add the remaining ½ cup buttermilk, mixing until you have a soft, shaggy dough—it will be moist and slightly sticky. This step should take 15 to 30 seconds; do not overknead, or the loaf will be tough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead and shape it into a domed circle. Put the round on the prepared baking sheet and, with a sharp knife, cut a cross in the center of the dome, about 1 inch deep, for the traditional soda bread cross-cut.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the bread is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve with butter and jam. The soda bread can be saved to make toast. Covered in plastic, the bread will keep at room temperature for 1 to 2 days.
“Excerpted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2012. Photographs by Squire Fox.”