Recently I learned about Tuesdays with Dorie, which is an online cooking/baking group that makes recipes from Dorie Greenspan's cook books. The group spent 4 years working its way through one of her books, and just last month they began a new book, called Baking with Julia. The whole deal is that the group picks two recipes from the book each month, and participants are supposed to make at least one of the recipes and then make a blog post about it on a specific day. Sounds like fun to me both because I would love to improve my baking skills and chatting with other food bloggers about baking is right up my alley.
Before jumping in, it was important though that I like the cook book I would be spending so much time with. My husband and I swung by Barnes and Noble so I could look over Baking with Julia, and I really liked what I saw. The book has recipes from all kinds of top bakers and very detailed instructions. It's quite a hefty book, too; hardcover with over 500 glossy pages and lots of photos. I quickly ordered a copy on Amazon.com and it arrived the other day, just in time to make the second of this month's recipes, Irish Soda Bread. So far I am thoroughly enjoying the group and can't wait to work my way through the book with them. Doubt I'll tackle the wedding cake recipe from Martha Stewart, but I'm game for most of the others, especially croissants.
On to Irish Soda Bread: I posted a nontraditional soda bread recipe the other day, but this is the real deal. Here's an interesting article about soda bread. Only four ingredients: flour (wheat or white depending on the occasion), salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. It certainly doesn't sound very exciting, but it was actually completely delicious! My husband took a bite and said, "This is AMAZING!" A few years ago I made a traditional soda bread, but this is definitely superior. Flavorful, hearty, tender on the inside but with a crunchy crust. What more could you want in a bread recipe? It also happens to be the easiest bread (or biscuit or roll) recipe I've ever made so it will surely be on the menu frequently. Can't wait to have the leftovers toasted and topped with strawberry freezer jam tomorrow morning!
Part of the deal with the baking group is that participants are not supposed to post the recipe on their blog in an effort to encourage people to buy the book, but each recipe has a couple of hosts that are allowed to post the recipe. This week's hosts are Cathy at My Culinary Mission and Carla at Chocolate Moosey. Additionally, someone found this awesome video of Julia Child and Marion Cunningham (the author of another fantastic baking book I own called The Fannie Farmer Baking Book) making the Irish Soda Bread! My only suggestions are to start with 1 1/2 C buttermilk because I added it all and my dough was very sticky, and check to see if the bread is done after 40 minutes.