TIP OF THE DAY: Irish Soda Bread, Sweet Or Savory - THE NIBBLE Blog
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TIP OF THE DAY: Irish Soda Bread, Sweet Or Savory

Irish Soda Bread is irresistible any time. But St. Patrick’s Day provides an extra excuse to bake up a batch and treat family and friends.

Soda bread is a chemically-leavened quick bread made with baking soda* (the compound sodium bicarbonate, also called bicarbonate of soda) instead of yeast. Baking soda produces a lighter, airy crumb. The term “quick bread” means fast rising. Read more about the different types of bread in our Bread Glossary.

Irish Soda Bread History: Irish Soda Bread dates back to around 1840, when bicarbonate of soda was introduced to Ireland. It reacted better with the soft wheat grown in Ireland’s climate, and replaced yeast as the leavening agent.

When should you serve Irish soda bread? Anytime! As a slightly sweet bread, it’s a breakfast and tea time favorite; but it also disappears quickly in the bread basket at lunch and dinner.
 
RECIPE: IRISH SODA BREAD WITH RAISINS

Irish Soda Bread is one of the easiest breads to make. This recipe from McCormick requires just 10 minutes of prep time. Cook time is 50 minutes. The loaf yields 12 slices.

Muffin variation: Divide the dough among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins or currants
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk (see substitute†)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For serving: butter and jam
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    Irish Soda Bread Recipe

    Dried Zante Currants

    Top: Classic Irish soda bread is made with currants or raisins. Photo courtesy Hot Bread Kitchen. Bottom: Dried Zante currants are also dried grapes, but a much smaller variety than those used for raisins. Photo courtesy BrokeAndBeautiful.com. Check out her Grandma’s Irish Soda Bread Recipe.

     
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    *The difference between baking soda and baking powder.

    †Substitutes for buttermilk: (a) 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes. (b) 1 cup of plain yogurt or 1-3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar, plus 1 cup of milk.
     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

    2. MIX the flour, sugar, caraway seed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Stir in the raisins. Mix the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in medium bowl; stir into the dry ingredients. Spread the dough in prepared pan.

    3. BAKE 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

     

    Savory Irish Soda Bread Recipe With Cheddar

    Cayenne Pepper

    Top: Savory Irish Soda Bread is typically made with Irish Cheddar. Photo courtesy Hot Bread Kitchen. Bottom: Cayenne, ground red pepper. Photo courtesy Silk Road Spices.

     

    RECIPE: SAVORY IRISH SODA BREAD WITH CHEDDAR

    This savory version of Irish Soda Bread from McCormick adds Irish Cheddar cheese and garlic powder instead of raisins and cinnamon. It yields 12 slices.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 40 minutes.

    Muffin variation: Divide the dough among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
     
    Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (we used 2 tablespoons—this is a savory bread)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence, rosemary or other herb
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne‡)
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded Irish Cheddar (use more for cheesier bread—substitute sharp Cheddar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
  •  
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    ‡Cayenne, ground red pepper, is the ripened, dried pod of the Capsicum frutescens, one of the two main species of chile peppers (the other is Capsicum annuum). It is the same chile that is made into crushed chile flakes. Members of the species include piri piri (African Bird’s Eye, Malagueta, Tabasco and less-known (in the U.S.) chiles.

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

    2. MIX the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and seasonings in large bowl. Stir in the cheese and set aside.

    3. MIX the eggs and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Add to the dry ingredients; stir until well blended. Spread the dough in the prepared cake pan.

    4. BAKE for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

      




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