Ina Garten, I apologize.
I just wanted to get that out the way from the get-go because what I am doing to her recipe for Irish Soda Bread is a sin against the Irish, baking soda, and all tasty breads.
This ill-advised baking plan was hatched earlier this week with an episode of “The Barefoot Contessa.” I was about to leave the room when Ina said she was going to bake a loaf of Irish Soda Bread. Since I am addicted to this and only get it when I dine at Dublin Square, I figured it was worth viewing. Even before the episode was finished I had raced to the computer to print out the recipe.
I was ready to bake it then and there only to discover I didn’t have the necessary buttermilk.
Today, finally, I went to the grocery store and got buttermilk.
I should probably have left it on the shelf.
Right now, the sticky lump of dough I like to think of as Irish soda bread is sitting in the oven. The rest of the kitchen looks as if a crew of Pillsbury Doughboys had themselves a major flour orgy. Throughout the cloud of flour sit lumps of almost-dough. I didn’t have the heart to face it so I fled the scene of my cooking crime and now sitting safely in my office where the worst damage I can inflict is bad grammar.
This shouldn’t have happened because I had early training as a bread baker. My oldest sister Peggy started a bread business in her teens when we needed funds to buy a vehicle to replace our family’s station wagon. Peggy would bake the bread and then we would load it in a wagon and go door to door selling it for 35 cents a loaf every Saturday. (I know, it was just as terrible as it sounds.)
When Peggy decided she had put in enough years at the business, she ordered me to take it over. My sister Therese wasn’t even in the running. She was probably smart enough to burn the only batch she ever made so the more responsible one got stuck with the chore and then Therese and I continued the bread deliveries for a few years.
I’m pretty sure I haven’t baked bread since and this attempt today may be enough to put me out of business permanently.
So as much as I’d like to be puttering in the kitchen and dining on homemade Irish Soda Bread, I think I’m going to have to get mine the old-fashioned way.
I’ll be ordering it in a restaurant.