Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Irish Bread

I'm excited to share this family recipe with you.  It's one of my favorites and I look forward to making this every March.  My mom calls this bread scawn, but I just don't like the name.  It's...  Weird.  So, it's my blog and I will refer to the bread as just Irish bread.  :)  Every year I look forward to St. Patrick's Day because of this bread.  My family may be the only one that associates this holiday with food but you would too if your mom made this every year for as long as you can remember!

I dug out the recipe and decided I wanted to adapt it to make a healthier version - There are a few swaps that can be made to beef up the nutritional value of this recipe.  I replaced part of the all purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour.  I also used skim milk and only half the amount of sugar.  Truth be told, I was unable to tell I used less sugar and I plan on using my version of the recipe from now on.  Good thing my mom doesn't know how to surf the web so she won't see that I prefer my recipe over hers!  ;)

Irish Bread
Serves: 1  :)

4 cups all purpose flour (You can substitute up to half of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 - 1 cup sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups raisins (I used a combination of golden and Thompson)
2 eggs
About 1 1/4 cups skim milk (or fat free buttermilk)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup granulated or green sanding sugar
Nonstick spray

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare two 9x5 or 8x4 loaf pans by spraying with nonstick spray and set aside.  Tip: I find using the 8x4 disposable foil pans are great for this recipe as I usually give away one loaf.  I also prefer the smaller pan as the loaf bakes up a bit taller than when you bake the bread in the 9x5 loaf pan.

Combine flour through raisins.  Add the eggs to a 2 cup liquid measuring cup and beat together.  Add enough milk so that the eggs and milk equal 1 1/2 cups.  Add the vanilla and add the mixture to the dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined.  The dough will be sticky, so resist the urge to add more flour.

Evenly divide the dough between the prepared loaf pans and bake for about 40 minutes.  Optional: While the bread is baking, combine the sugar and enough water for a thin glaze (You can also sprinkle sugar directly on the dough before baking).  It's not necessary to add the sugar, but it adds a nice crunch to the top.

After 40 minutes of baking, brush the top of the bread with the glaze and bake for another 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

This bread is great toasted and topped with some delicious Irish butter.


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