Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TWD: [Not the] Irish Soda Bread [I Remember]

It seemed to be an Irish sort of day when I made this week's Tuesdays with Dorie assignment - Irish Soda Bread. After a week of sun, short sleeves and daily trips to the park, this particular day was gray, filled with intermittent rain showers, and there was a chilly bite to the air. And being that it was the day before St. Patrick's Day (and thus not yet appropriate to wile away my day with pints of Harp and Guiness - or if you're in college, green-tinted Bud Light), it seemed the perfect day to complete this recipe.

Growing up, I never cared for Irish Soda Bread. As my grandfather was part Irish, my grandmother made it every year, and always sent some home to my dad, who loved it. But to me, it was bland and flavorless. And adding insult to injury - my grandmother's version contained raisins! Ick! Thus, you can imagine my excitement (or lack thereof) upon hearing that Irish Soda Bread would be our assignment this month....

So I decided to take this incredibly simple recipe and add my own touch. Or rather, add my leftover dried cranberries and bittersweet chocolate bits from our last TWD recipe, rugelach.

Again, this couldn't have been a more simple task. Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. If you're a traditionalist, don't add anything else. If you are worried about not liking the original version, add chocolate and dried fruit. (I also read somewhere that crystallized ginger or candied orange peel could be a fun addition.)

I worried for a hot second when I saw that the recipe called to knead the dough. My dough was beyond wet, and my fingers became too sticky to even handle it.

(ETA: After perusing a few other TWD bakers' blogs, I'm now convinced that I either neglected to add the last cup of flour, or used too much buttermilk as no one else's dough looks half as wet as mine.)

Draw an x across the top (um, a million dollars to whoever can spot my x), place the dough in a greased glass pie dish, and throw it in the oven.

Fifty minutes later, I discovered that I could indeed get my head around this Irish concoction - my soda bread appeared to be perfect. And surprisingly moist and delicious. (And it remained that way even a day later.)

Add it to the list! Julia has made me a believer in yet one more baked good. (Even if my newfound affection for this bread is based primarily on the addition of the chocolate.)

If you'd like this recipe, either purchase Baking with Julia, or visit the blogs of this week's hosts - My Culinary Mission (cheese - why didn't I think of that??) and Chocolate Moosey. Also stay tuned for our TWD recipes in April, which I am quite excited about - Pizza Rustica and Lemon Loaf Cake.


  1. My dough was also really wet and sticky. I think I left a quarter of the dought on the counter and my hands. I liked the texture of the bread, but was not crazy about the taste, although I didn't think to add chocolate. :)

  2. Great idea!! It looks fantastic :)

  3. Clever to use up leftover rugelach fare :-)
    Glad this gave you a better perspective on soda bread.

  4. I didn't think I'd like this bread either, but I think the addition of the currants/raisins I added was enough to improve the blandness. I'm glad you liked it. I had really, really sticky dough too. I saw that one person who included video, added quite a bit of flour in the kneading process. I think I'll hold back on just a bit of the buttermilk next time. You couldn't see an 'X' on mine either:)
    Looks very yummy w/ chocolate chips!!