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Irish Soda Scones Recipe

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Soda Bread has been a specialty of Ireland for well over a century. As its name implies, 'soda' bread gets its rise, not from yeast, but from 'baking soda' (bicarbonate of soda). Soda Bread is classified as a quick bread and in its most basic form contains only four ingredients, baking soda, flour (all purpose and/or whole wheat), salt, and buttermilk (or soured milk). When raisins (currants or sultanas) and a little sugar are added to the dough, its name changes from Soda Bread to Spotted Dick or Spotted Dog. 

For this recipe I have decided to make Irish Soda Scones instead of a usual round of bread. You can use all white flour, all brown flour, or a combination of the two flours. The important thing to remember when making soda scones is to have a quick light hand because baking soda starts to react as soon as it becomes wet. So try to get the scones into the hot oven as soon as possible. Irish Soda Scones contain buttermilk which has a nice thick creamy texture with a rich tangy buttery taste that makes these scones nice and tender. Whereas in the past it was the liquid left over after churning butter it is now commercially made by adding a bacteria to whole, skim, or low fat milk. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before using.

The Irish Soda Scones are baked in a hot oven and this produces a scone with a hard and crusty outer crust yet inside they have a nice tender crumb. These are wonderful with butter and jam or they also make a great accompaniment to soups and stews.

 

Irish Soda Scones: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add most of the buttermilk. Using one hand, or a wooden spoon, mix (adding more buttermilk if necessary) until you have a soft, moist dough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough into a 7 - 8 inch (18 - 23 cm) round. Cut this circle into 6 triangular sections. Place the scones on your prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with a little extra buttermilk and then dust with a little flour. This gives the baked scones a wonderful floury brown crust.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Test by tapping the bottom of a scone - it should sound hollow. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. These scones are best served warm from the oven with a little butter and jam.

Makes 6 large scones.

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Sources:

Alexander, Stephanie. The Cook's Companion.  Penguin Group (Australia). London: 2004.

Allen, Darina. Ballymaloe Seasons. Roberts Rhinehart Publishers. Niwot, Colorado: 1997.

Allen, Myrtle. Myrtle Allen's Cooking at Ballymaloe House.  Stewart, Tabori & Chang. New York: 1999.

Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. Oxford: 1999.

Laverty, Maura. Maura Laverty's Cookery Book. Longmans, Green & Co. London: 1946.

Irish Soda Scones:

3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour (or a mixture of whole wheat flour and white all purpose flour)

1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk

 

 

 

 

 
 
     
 

 

 

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