Raisin Soda Bread
1/3 cup Raisins -- instead of herbs
Caraway Seed Soda Bread
2 tablespoons Caraway seeds -- instead of herbs
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, combine 4 cups flour, the chopped herbs, baking powder, salt, and baking soda (breaking up any lumps). Mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Place the buttermilk and vegetable oil in a stainless steel bowl and whisk gently to combine. Gradually add the buttermilk mixture to the combined dry ingredients while mixing on low speed and continue to mix until the dough forms a ball, 30 to 40 seconds. Scrape the dough away from the paddle and turn the dough ball over. Mix on low speed for an additional 30 seconds.
Flour a clean, dry surface with the remaining tablespoon flour. Transfer the dough ball to the floured surface and knead with the heels of your hands until smooth. Form the dough into a round loaf. Pinch a small handful of dough and gently twist, being careful not to tear the dough from the loaf. Place the loaf, pinched side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water, then lightly brush the mixture over the top of the loaf. Score the loaf by cutting a 1/4" deep "X" into the top. Bake the loaf in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes. The bread is done if a hollow sound is heard when the bottom is tapped with your finger. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature before slicing.
Notes - the dough must be kneaded vigorously by hand; this should take about 2 minutes. Pinching and twisting the loaf to form a base will give the finished bread a tighter and taller shape. This procedure is not necessary; however, the finished loaf will be much flatter if the base is not pinched and twisted as suggested. Rather than using dried herbs, if fresh herbs are not available, use an equivalent amount of chopped spinach.
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