KETTLE-BAKED SODA BREAD
Soda bread was originally baked in a covered casserole over a wood-burning fire. Today we can simulate that experience in our modern ovens by baking soda bread in a deep covered kettle. My favorite vessel is a 5 quart Le Creuset pot.
Soda breads expand better in this hot moist oven within an oven. The crumb is dense and still tender; the crust is surprisingly dark and chewy. By combining baking strategies of the past with modern technology, we can enjoy the best of both worlds.
***** IRISH SODA BREAD *****
2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter the bottom of a 4 quart covered pot or casserole.
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together well. Stir in the milk only until the dough forms a cohesive ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 1 minute. Shape it into a slightly flattened cushion and lower it into the casserole. Make a 1-1/2" deep cross in the top of the dough, cover, and bake it for 45 minutes.
Lift the bread onto a rack to cool, at least 15 minutes. Slice thin and serve.
Yield: 1 loaf: 4-6 servings