This recipe is not your traditional butter biscuit or an Irish soda bread. The difference is – it has other “fun” ingredients which added more depth to its flavor such as dried fruits, nuts and aromatic spices like fennel. The Irish calls it the Americanized version of their soda bread. Traditional Irish Soda bread has only 4 basic ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. And unlike typical biscuits, this recipe uses baking soda instead of baking powder, so it’s more crumbly than flaky.
I saw this recipe while I was watching Bobby Flay cooking in one of the late morning talk shows. I couldn’t remember which one. Night before that, I made Creamy Potato Basil soup and still had some leftover, so I thought this soda biscuit would be a perfect pair for my soup.
I wrote down the ingredients and procedures. When his cooking segment was done, I went to my kitchen and made this right away. By lunchtime the following day, I was already having my creamy potato soup with soda biscuit on the side. It was a perfect match!
I tweaked the recipe a little bit and added some of my personal preferences. Bobby used golden raisins in his recipe, I used dried apricots I bought from an Amish store last year and I need to use them before they get bad. Also, I made it into biscuit size instead of whole loaf. I also added slivered almonds for extra texture.
IRISH SODA BISCUIT
Yield: 20-22 Pcs.
* All-purpose flour – 2 ¾ cups
* Cake flour – ¾ cup
* Semolina flour – ½ cup
* Cream of tartar – 1 ½ tsp
* Sea salt – ½ tsp
* Sugar – 3 tbsp
* Baking soda – 1 ½ tsp
* Fennel seeds – 1 tbsp
* Dried apricots any dried fruits – ¾ cup
* Slivered almonds ¾ cup
* Orange zest – 2 tsp
* Butter – 8 tbsp (or 1 stick) cold, solid
* Buttermilk – 2 cups
* Eggwash – egg and milk (or egg and water)
1. Preheat oven to 350F and gather all the ingredients.
2. If using bigger size dried fruits cut them into even pieces and soak them in hot water for at least 15 minutes; dry in paper towels.
3. Slightly toast fennel seeds in the pan, no oil just add a pinch of salt. Set aside.
4. Mix the first 7 ingredients in a bowl.
5. Add the fennel seeds, dried apricots, almonds and orange zest. Mix ingredients using rubber spatula.
6. Slice butter stick into smaller pieces. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using fork or pastry cutter until texture turns coarse and crumbly.
7. Add the buttermilk.
8. Scoop and form the dough into golf-sized ball.
9. Dust the baking sheet with semolina flour and lay the dough.
10. Make a shallow cut on top of each dough.
11. Eggwash the dough very lightly.
11. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
12. Serve warm with more butter or cheese on top.
Thank you for reading and happy cooking!