Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Soda Bread

When I saw that stew and corned beef were on the menu for our St. Patrick's Day festivities, I new right away that an Irish Soda Bread was in order. Then I got to thinking, if one soda bread is good, then two soda breads must be great! I did a quick search online and came up with a pretty basic herby soda bread recipe. For the second bread, I left out the herbs and added giant handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese. I think the cheesy one was a bit more popular, and beautiful, but next time I would opt for a sharper cheddar and perhaps a head of roasted garlic thrown in as well. Whatever you do to modify this bread with add ins, mix them with the dry ingredients before adding the buttermilk/oil. Also, my food processor did a decent job at mixing the dough, but eventually it just became too much for it. I simply kneaded the bread a bit longer to make sure the ingredients were all well combined.

Basic Soda Bread


4 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 325°.

1)In your food processor or mixing bowl, combine 4 cups flour, the chopped herbs, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix for 1 minute. If you are adding any extra flavorings, add them now.

2)Whisk together the buttermilk and vegetable oil in a bowl. Gradually add the buttermilk mixture to the combined dry ingredients while mixing on low speed and continue to mix until the dough forms a ball, about 30 seconds.

3)Scrape the dough away from the sides of the food processor and turn the dough ball over. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds longer.
4)Transfer the dough ball to a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Form the dough into a round loaf, pinching and twisting the bottom a bit to make the loaf taller. Place the loaf, pinched side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone liner.
5)Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water, then lightly brush the mixture over the top of the loaf. Score the loaf by cutting a 1/4-inch deep "X" into the top.

6)Bake the loaf in the preheated 325° oven for 55 to 60 minutes. The bread is done when a hollow sound is heard when the bottom is tapped with your finger. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature before slicing.

-For an Herby Bread add 1 heaping teaspoon of dried dill and thyme (one 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh) plus about four shakes of garlic powder. The original recipe also said to add an equal amount of tarragon, but I didn't have any on hand so I left it out.

-For a Cheesy Garlic Bread add about four giant handfuls of coarsely shredded cheddar cheese and one head of chopped roasted garlic. For roasting instructions check out this blog.

You can find the original recipe I used here.

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