Saint Patrick’s Day is a little over a week away, and the most exciting part about it for me is not the green beer, Shamrock shakes, or leprechaun hunts (although I am excited to have Phoebe hunt for some leprechaun treasure!), it is all the soda bread baking!
Baking bread is like therapy for me. Basic and simple ingredients come together to make the most comforting food of all time- warm, crusty, chewy bread. Soda bread is a favorite of mine to make for two reasons- 1.) it is so fast and easy and 2.) it is very customizable with all the different flavors you can add to it.
The first time I ever made soda bread was when I was in graduate school. I lived in a huge house that rented rooms to female students, so all the common areas were shared. For the 2 years I was doing my masters degree, I hardly ever baked. In fact, I am pretty sure I made all of my meals in the microwave every single day. It was quick and easy, but so blah. When I came across a recipe for soda bread, I thought I’d give it a try since I had all the ingredients on hand and looked simple to make. I added in dried cranberries and dark chocolate because the traditional raisins are yuck to me and dark chocolate is life.
If you love to bake cookies at Christmas time, then here’s another fun opportunity to get in the kitchen and bake for others! Soda bread is so easy to make, and will make anyone (even the non-Irish folk like me!) super happy to receive a loaf!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips (you can add more if you like!)
- Preheat to 450°F at least 15 minutes in advance. Cover the bottom of a deep 10-inch cast iron or enameled Dutch oven with a sheet of parchment paper; no need to trim.
- Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk a full minute to combine. Stir in buttermilk until dough is fully moistened and no pockets of flour remain. For extra-fluffy results, stop folding as soon as dough comes together. For extra-chewy results, fold dough about 20 seconds more. Scrape dough into pan, and form into a ball shape. Score the dough in 2 diagonal lines across the top.
- Cover with a lid or aluminum foil, making sure the foil is high enough for the bread to rise. Bake until well risen and golden, 40 minutes. Remove lid and continue baking until chestnut brown, about 10 minutes longer. Invert onto a wire rack, discard parchment, turn right side up, and cool until crumb has set, about 30 minutes. Store up to 24 hours in an airtight container and toast to freshen bread before serving.
Recipe is adapted from Serious Eat. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/03/real-irish-soda-bread-recipe.html