Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Baking with Julia: Irish Soda Bread

It's Tuesday, which means time for another installment of Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia. This week's assignment was Irish soda bread, in honor of St. Patrick's Day. I made my bread on Sunday, so not quite in time to enjoy for the holiday, but all those carbs certainly helped with my hangover, and for that, I am thankful.

I was crazy busy during the third installment of Baking with Julia and was unable to make the rugelach recipe, so I had to participate in this week's challenge, which I had planned on skipping. Beforehand, I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of making Irish soda bread—it didn't appeal to my inherent love of all things chocolate; however, I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the texture of the bread and its crispy exterior. The flavor was solid, but it definitely could have used some dried fruit (cherries would be my first choice), nuts or even cheese thrown in (I sprinkled some trail mix over the top to pretty it up a little). On its own it was a little plain for my taste, but I imagine it would be great topped with some butter or jam and paired with a cup of tea.

With only 4 basic ingredients, it could not have been easier to make. Baking soda reacts with buttermilk to act as the leavening agent, which means no rising time necessary (best news ever!). Also, it does not require a mixer or much kneading. So, you simply throw all the ingredients together in a bowl, mix, shape, bake, and ta-da! Seriously...couldn't be easier. The only issue I had was with the stickiness of the dough—it kept sticking to my hands and the counter while I was kneading and shaping (despite using plenty of flour).

Quick tip: if you're out of buttermilk, like I was, use this easy substitute: put one tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice in a 1-cup container and fill to the top with milk (I use whole milk). Let stand for 5 minutes and you're good to go.

On the down side, this bread only last for about a day before it hardens, so eat it up quickly or risk throwing away half a loaf, like I did.

Couldn't resist getting one of my sunflowers in the shot
Source: Baking with Julia, thanks to Cathy and Carla for hosting this week (the recipe can be found on either of these blogs)


  1. Yours looks awesome. Love the pics.

  2. Hmmm, I didn't know that the baking soda absorbed hangovers too :-)
    Very nice.