I’ve been intrigued by all the Irish soda bread recipes I’ve seen in my cookbooks. Each book seems to have one, and they always look relatively quick and simple — especially because the bread is made with baking soda and baking powder as the leavening agent, not yeast, so it doesn’t need time to rise. The only thing holding me back from making the bread was that I either needed yogurt, buttermilk, or milk heated with vinegar to make it, and I don’t often have those ingredients — or at least enough of those ingredients — around.
This week, though, I had some plain yogurt in the fridge, and I wanted to try a quick bread recipe. I decided to use the recipe in How to Cook Everything since most of the other recipes just listed how to make the bread with buttermilk.
I preheated the oven, mixed up the dough in the cuisinart, let it sit for a few minutes while the oven finished preheating, shaped the bread into a loaf, created a cross-hatch pattern with a razor, and put it in the oven. 45 minutes later, it was done. I couldn’t believe that I had made this loaf of bread in about an hour start to finish.
I used half whole wheat flour and half regular flour, and it turned out tasting hearty and healthy. The loaf was pretty dense and heavy, and the bread tasted especially good toasted with butter or cheese. It sliced really well, and I was able to slice it quite thin, and it was good for sandwiches, too.
If you’re intimidated by how long bread usually takes, or if you’re just looking for something quick, this is a great recipe to try.
Recipe: Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
1.5 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups wheat flour (replace with all-purpose flour if you want a white loaf)
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
butter or oil for greasing the baking sheet
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the yogurt or buttermilk to make a soft dough (it shouldn’t be too sticky). After kneading/processing, it should be smooth and elastic.
Let the dough rest for a few minutes before shaping it into a round loaf. Slash the top with a razor blade (I chose to do a cross-hatch pattern). Put on a greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.
When done, the bread is supposed to sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.