In honor of St. Patrick's day, the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group baked Irish Soda Bread as the second March recipe. The group chooses one easy recipe each month from the book Baking With Julia, and one that's a bit more involved. The soda bread is the easy one, and, folks, it doesn't get any easier than this: 4 ingredients and a minute of kneading and it's ready for the oven!
- Julia's contributing baker for the soda bread is Marion Cunningham; you can find her recipe on either of the host blogs this week:
Carla of Chocolate Moosey put dried cherries in her bread
Cathy of My Culinary Mission made a gruyere version
- Although the most traditional form of soda bread is plain, the recipe suggest adding currants so that's what I did.
- I baked a half recipe, yielding one smallish loaf.
- For one quarter of the flour I used Irish Style Wholemeal Flour from King Arthur Flour. How could I not? I had it on hand and it even has Irish in its name! I love the slightly rough texture and full flavor of this flour.
- I've learned from my yeast bread baking (thanks to British bread baker extraordinaire Dan Lepard) to knead the dough on an oiled rather than a floured counter. For the soda bread, I used walnut oil, figuring it wouldn't hurt to add a bit of nutty flavor while I was conditioning the dough.
- Soda bread is usually baked as a hearth loaf, but around my house bread made in loaf pans is the preferred type when it's destined for toasting, as this was. So I used a medium-sized loaf pan. The bread baked for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.
Eaten fresh and barely cooled from the oven, this bread was delicious: tender, nutty from the wholemeal, with little pops of sweet fruitiness from the currants. I ate it spread with salted butter and my husband toasted it then buttered it. Although the recipe indicates otherwise, we found the bread to be a decent "keeper." We both liked the bread, and you absolutely cannot beat the ease of preparation.