Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TWD: Irish Soda Bread



I might have already said this, but one of the things I love about TWD is that it occasionally forces me to try new things.  This week was one of those weeks.  Sure, I've seen Irish Soda bread at the grocery store in the past (especially in March), but it had never occurred to me to actually purchase one.  I love yeast bread with a crackly crisp crust and fluffy interior, so I usually go straight for French or Italian bread, leaving the rest in the dust.  Now I can finally say that I've tried a soda bread.

I made this bread twice.  I used  raisins and halved the recipe both times.  The first time I followed the recipe as written, but the second time I made quite a few modifications.  Personally, I thought the second one was amazing and the first one was  just okay.  The first bread, while good, was very plain.  I felt that the only flavor to be found was in the raisins and in the butter I slathered on top of the bread.  The buttermilk gave it a great tang, but I found the consistenccy to be almost a little tough because of the lack of fat.  So, what did I do?  Simple.  I added flavor, fat, and calories--something I rarely do.

When I made the second loaf, just yesterday morning, I took a hint from my grandmother's Easter bread recipe.  I added just a little bit of sugar (1/4 cup for a half-loaf) and the zest of half a lemon.  I also made one other change.  I was out of milk and buttermilk, so I used plain yogurt and light cream instead.  It made the bread more tender than the previous loaf, which had been made with buttermilk.  I will deinitely be making this sweet breakfast bread again.

I think the possibilities or variations of this bread are endless.  In fact, I'm planning on making a cheddar jalepeno version for a TexMex dinner I'm hosting next weekend.  Here's to hoping it turns out!

Did anyone else alter this recipe?  If so, please comment and let me know.  I'd love to have new ideas.

To see the recipe, please visit My Culinary Mission or Chocolate Moosey.




53 comments:

  1. Your loaf with "variations" sounds amazing! I made the classic (plain) which is good, but I've seen it with cinnamon swirl that I will definitely try.

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    1. A cinnamon swirl would definitely be a nice touch.

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  2. I agree..I used yoghurt.. and added a little water to loosen it up a bit.. and I agree that made the bread softer!!

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    1. I've found that I often (not always, but often) like how yogurt affects the consistency of baked goods.

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  3. I think you have been wise to avoid the ones in the grocery store - you probably would never have wanted to make this if you had that first :-)
    Very nice!

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    1. That is often true with baked goods, isn't it? They are almost always better when they are homemade.

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  4. Your loaf looks so nice and golden. Great post!

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  5. I loved the ease of this bread. The next time I make it, i'm adding raisins (or other dried fruit).

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    1. I really liked it with dried fruit. I think it helped make it more interesting.

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  6. I love jalepeno - that with cheddar sounds awesome! I made mine with a cup of gruyere - added a nice touch to it.

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  7. the zest & sugar sound SO yummy! love the contract of the dark crust with the lighter colored "X" on your bread.

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    1. Thank you! Only one loaf looked like this and I am not exactly sure what accounts for the difference. Maybe the fact that one was baked on a pie plate and the other on parchment on a cookie sheet?

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  8. Cheddar jalapeño?? That could be great

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    1. That is what I'm hoping! I figure I'll try it one day when I want to make something and just really don't have time to do anything else.

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  9. Your loaf looks perfectly lovely! I always make a sweeter version with raisins. I enjoy soda bread both ways!

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    1. I thought the raisins made the texture more interesting, but I can see how it would be good plain with stew or soup (as many bloggers ate it).

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  10. I share your thinking. I little butter, sugar and something for flavor...makes a great loaf.

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    1. There is nothing like a sweet bread, right? I need to get on making my Grandmother's Easter bread. It is a sweet yeast and egg bread flavored with lemon and cinnamon and I absolutely adore it.

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  11. The world has a new scent : Irish soda bread!
    Such a lovely bread, so many possibilities and so easy to make!
    I love it!
    Your bread looks great! I've always made mine with yogurt and milk and will definitely try the variations you've listed. Thank you

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  12. You have such a nice wide slash through your loaf! I had such a time trying to cut across the sticky dough. I added currants and orange zest to my loaf. The add-ins for you second sound so good and I love the idea of a jalapeno cheddar cheese loaf!

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    1. You know, my first one was really wet and difficult to slash. This picture is of the second bread with all of those modifications, so that might be why the dough was more agreeable to work with.

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  13. I added raisins, kind of a traditional tweak. Your bread looks good.

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  14. I agree with the fact that the bread alone would have been dry. I made Cinnamon Honey Butter to go on top which was delicious! You need raisins or some sort of fruit to add a little texture as well! Great pictures - yours got beautifully brown on top...

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    1. I definitely agree with you about the texture. Cinnamon Honey Butter sounds amazing!

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  15. I kept mine as written for my first try, but I'm making another loaf today to go with dinner and I think your alterations would be perfect. Your loaf looks great!

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    1. Thank you! A lot of bloggers had some really interesting savory additions. I know I saw that one person had tried sun-dried tomato.

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  16. Your bread looks great! I love this recipe because you can alter it in so many ways.. Cheddar jalapeno version sounds delicious..

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    1. It is so versatile. I'm having people over this weekend and I might just whip up another loaf.

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  17. Yum your modifications sound great. I'd love to hear how the jalapeno cheddar turns out.

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    1. I'll blog about it when I get to it. I think it will work though because other bloggers had luck with adding cheese.

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  18. It looks perfect...I'd love to try a savory, cheesy version next!

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    1. I love sweet bread, but there is nothing like a good savory bread.

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  19. I'm in awe of your "slash".... and your "rise". It's spectacular. Mine was rather flat, but still good. I must try your additions - in place of buttermilk, they sound wonderful. And of course, everything is better with cheese!

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    1. That picture is of the second loaf I made, so I think there might be something about my alterations to the recipe that created the slash and rise. My first loaf was very sticky and looked more like a drop scone than a loaf of bread.

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  20. Yes cheese sounds like a good idea. I've been toasting my plain loaf and buttering it, delish.

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    1. This was definitely really good with butter.

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  21. I had made Soda bread once before and it was AWFUL but this one was perfect. I want to make it again with cheddar and chives. You are right - open to lots of variation.

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  22. Wow, you really changed it.
    The Cheddar Jalapeno sounds great. Good luck with it.
    Your bread looks great.

    I added craisins and walnuts in my bread.

    ~ Carmen
    http://bakingismyzen.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/twd-baking-with-julia-irish-soda-bread

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    1. Carmen--Craisins and walnuts sound great.

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  23. How did you get your bread to brown so nicely? Mine didn't brown and I just had to take it out of the oven before it became a brick. I made the recipe as written and would rather make it with some of the modifications I've been reading about next time.

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    1. Melissa, I made the bread as written the first time and it didn't brown well. That said, I don't think it was the change in ingredients that made the difference. I could be wrong, but I think that it browned better the second time because I forgot to look at the book and I baked it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Both loaves were baked for 30 minutes.

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  24. You are a lady after my own heart, because I agree with you that this bread needed fat and flavor! If I ever make it again I'll be following your lead and doctoring it up a bit.

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    1. Liz--It really did make a world of difference.

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  25. Lovely photos of your soda bread! For such a traditional bread, the flavor is very bland, I think and I'm happy to see that you adapted the recipe. I added yeast, a little polenta and some Lyle's Golden Syrup to pep it up some! thanks for commenting on my blog.

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  26. I like your variation, your bread looks amazing! The first time I made it, I stuck to the recipe and we liked it quite a bit. The second time, I split the dough in half, made one plain and the other added a bunch of grated sharp cheddar cheese and rubbed the ball with butter...it was amazing! I love cheese bread and this one was so good!

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  27. I like the idea of adding yogurt, cream, and sugar. The extra flavor and more tender texture sound great.

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