Have I told you that I’m a professional baker?
Ok, fine, maybe I’m not really a professional… but I think we can all agree that, with that amazing bread, I could totally fake it…
For a day or two, at least!
This bread is easy (if a bit labor-intensive). It looks magnificent. It tastes fantastic (especially toasted with butter on top, my oh my!). And the best part? It totally makes you look like a professional.
I hate to give away my secret, but since I like you, here you go:
Irish Soda Bread with Fennel and Cinnamon from EverybodyLikesSandwiches.
1 c vanilla yogurt
1/3 c milk (the recipe calls for skim, I used 2% because that’s what I had)
1/c c apple-cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 c all purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp cold butter, cut into bits
1 c wheat bran
2 tbsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c dried cranberries (note: more thoroughly dried ones work better. I tried the moister ones form the bulk bins at Whole Foods on my second attempt at this recipe, and it wasn’t quite as good)
Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, milk, vanilla and apple cider and set aside to thicken. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add cold butter into the flour and use your hands to break it up until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With a wooden spoon, stir in wheat bran, fennel, cinnamon, and dried fruit.
Pour in milk/yogurt mixture and stir until the mixture starts to hold together into a ball. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Pat into a dome-shaped lump and place onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or silpat (note: My baking sheet was naked!). Sprinkle some flour on top and cut a cross into the loaf (note: Crosses stretch, so go easy!). Bake for about 1 hour or so (note: Mine took 1 hour 10-15 mins), or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
Eat it warm. Toast it and add butter, for heavens sake. PROMISE ME YOU’LL TOAST IT!!!! It is so worth it.