This bread is easy enough and delicious enough to make and eat every day!! I know you won’t, and I won’t even go there either, but really it’s a great recipe to have on hand to round out a hot meal. It takes just minutes to throw together, about 45 minutes in the oven and a little rest while you are finishing the rest of the meal. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water….homemade bread in all it’s lovely whiteness (more about that later)…
I made this recipe for Irish soda bread for our St. Patrick’s Day meal, fitting, eh? I found the recipe in my rusty trusty Fannie Farmer Baking Book (the one I was going to throw out when somehow it made it’s way into my house, but then I decided to use it to press flowers in, then finally when I actually started cooking and baking, realized that it contained some great recipes and instructions! Now it’s my go-to for baking. Funny how things work out….) Here are the photos, then I’ll add the recipe.
It’s such a gorgeously rustic looking bread! I love the texture, color and the big cross in the center. Oh, and the smell while it bakes, and did I mention that it was easy? And only takes 4 ingredients! F.O.U.R. Having said that, I didn’t actually have all of the ingredients on hand….
I had spent my time working on roasted cabbage and an “Irish” stew variation (made with what I had on hand: sausage, potatoes, onions and carrots…but I guess that that’s fairly authentic anyways). So I go to bake up some Irish soda bread, like I did last year. I measured out the dry ingredients and opened the fridge. I knew that I didn’t have buttermilk, so I would just use milk and vinegar or lime juice….but no milk!!! I dashed to the computer and typed in “substitutions for buttermilk” and found a great link here, so I found out that I could use yogurt as a substitute! Yay, I had lots of greek yogurt!
Here’s a close-up of the texture (I was eating the leftover bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil as a snack…sooooo good!) Remember, this was made with yogurt, and no extra fat! A very white color and great taste, and it must have a lot of protein with 2 cups of greek yogurt!! Now on to the recipe….
Irish Soda Bread
(an authentic recipe from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham, 1984)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 tbsp. vinegar in milk to make 2 cups OR 2 cups of plain greek yogurt)
Preheat your oven to 3750 F. Grease a baking sheet or an 8-inch round pan…I used baking parchment on a cookie sheet. Add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl (flour, salt, baking soda) and mix them around. Add buttermilk and stir it up with a fork until it holds together in a rough mass. Since I was using thick yogurt, I actually had to add just a bit of water to the dough to make it mixable. Knead the dough a few times (I did this right in the bowl) then pat into about an 8 inch round mound on the sheet (or in the round pan). Using a sharp knife, slash a large X into the top of the dough, about 1/4 of an inch deep.
Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until it is nicely browned and the X has spread open. Transfer to a rack to cool for awhile, then wrap it in a slightly damp tea towel and let it rest, on the rack for about 8 hours. This recipe makes one round loaf, and it should be completely cool when you serve it. The rest time in a damp towel helps the crust to nicely soften up. We didn’t wait 8 hours, obviously, or it wouldn’t be such a quick bread!!
If you can whip this up right before you prepare the meal, bake it, then let it sit in the damp towel while you make the rest of the meal, it should be ready to be served when the meal is ready. Using the towel is a good way to store leftovers. This bread also makes great toast! I love it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or just plain with butter. This loaf was enough to go with 2 meals for the six of us! So thankful for our blessings!
(now I am craving some yummy bread….!)