Irish Soda Bread – my St. Patrick’s Day bread

Irish Soda Bread

This is the recipe I always used for St. Patrick’s Day. Usually I make one big round loaf using my largest pyrex bowl from the set of three.

I made two loaves with the full recipe.

This time though I decided to make two smaller loaves so I could share one with my friend Ann Marie, shh, it’s a surprise!

The two loaves cooling, gosh the house smelled wonderful!

After 10 minutes cooling, you can take the bread out of the bowls to finish.

Oh deliciousness!

If you can resist, it tastes best the day after you make it. Let it cool totally, wrap up tightly the RESIST! Well I usually can’t do that…resist that is, so I have a nice slice after dinner with coffee. Well you do have to test it to make sure it’s good enough for everyone right?

Irish Soda Bread – Makes one big loaf or two smaller ones.  Directions also follow for mixing it up for jar mixes.
Preheat oven 375 F and grease your bowl(s).
4 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 T caraway seeds
1/4 c butter, (1/2 stick) softened
1 c raisins
1 1/3 c buttermilk (or 1 1/3 c milk with 1 T + 1 tsp of vinegar or lemon juice added to the measuring glass first. )
1 egg

1. Put your sifter into or over a bowl then put in it- flour, sugar, salt and baking powder, baking soda, then sift into bowl.

2. Cut in butter with pastry blender until like course crumbs, rub in with fingers if you need to also.

3. Mix in caraway seeds and raisins.

4. Combine the milk, egg and baking soda and mix well. I measure the milk into a large liquid measuring cup then add the other things to it.

5. Stir into the flour mixture, mix with fork first then use bowl scraper or big rubber spatula.

6. Turn dough onto floured surface, I do it right on my counter top. Knead lightly until smooth, really hardly at all, just to form a ball shape, dough will be soft.  Shape into a ball then spray a pyrex bowl (the large one of a set of three) with spray vegetable oil. OR divide dough in two and put each in medium sized bowl.

7. Put dough in and cut a deep cross or X into it with a knife, (to release the fairies!) gently push it apart so it’s slightly open. Take one egg yolk and brush (or use fingers) on top and into cracks.

8. Bake one hour, (for two smaller loaves bake 50 minutes) cool in bowl 10 min. then remove to finish cooling.

This tastes best the next day, if you can resist! Wrap well and store in ziplock bag as you use it up.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe Post Card postcard
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Full sized loaf of whole wheat soda bread I made another time using this recipe.

** Another version: 1/2 golden raisins, 1/2 regular raisins,  no caraway seeds, 1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour, 2 c regular flour, 1/2 c oatmeal.

** Another version I tried: leave out the raisins and seeds, cut sugar to 1/8 c, use 2 c whole wheat flour, 2 c white whole wheat flour, add a bit more of the baking soda, I added a LOT of Italian seasoning and parsley, some basil this was good, but I also added dried cut up tomato and this was ok, wouldn’t add next time, but mine were quite dry.

** The original recipe has you add the baking soda with the milk and egg, then add it all at once to the dry mixture. I found no difference really by adding it with the dry ingredients, the mix the egg and milk and add. Just have your oven ready because with soda breads and scones you want to get them into the oven right away.

** For putting into jars to mix small loaf when you want it. I love doing this with recipes because I’m only baking for one or two and this way I can make smaller amounts and have it ready quicker!

1. Mix in a big bowl:
4 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Write out instructions on a small paper, tape to the jar.

2. Divide between two (2 c) mason jars, about 2 c + 3-4T each or divide putting some in a jar and some into a bowl to make into bread right away.
3. Put these instructions on the jar (cover the paper with wide clear tape totally and it will last longer): To make put contents into bowl.
4. Cut in 2 T (1/4 stick) softened butter, then rub in till like crumbs.
5. Add 1/2 c raisins + 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (if adding these things)
6. Mix 1/2 an egg with 5 1/2 oz OR 1/2c + 3 1/2 T of Buttermilk (or add 2 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice to milk) Mix in with flour with fork then use bowl scraper to get into a dough. Put on floured cupboard and lightly knead into a ball. Put in greased Med. Bowl cut X in top and brush with remaining egg. Bake 375 for 50 min.

I also add the dry ingredients list to make new batches on the back side.

I also put the dry ingredients list on the jar so I can easily make new batches and refill. Try all kinds of variations with your soda bread. Decrease sugar if making a savoury bread for dinner.

Enjoy baking and let me know if you try this bread!

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Chocolate Soda Bread

What a delicious way to start the day! Chocolate Soda Bread with coffee!

I love playing around in the kitchen with recipes and lately it’s been scones and soda breads. I like baking scones to compare the recipes and have one, “Rachel Allen’s soda scones” that I like because they raise up so nice and there’s no butter to rub in so they’re quick, (and lower in fat!). They have a different texture that’s not as tender and crumbly as other scones though, BUT it’s that slight chewyness that makes them excellent cut and toasted with butter! oh yummm, it reminds me of Ciabata bread.

chocolate soda bread baked in a small bowl

You can bake the bread in a small bowl.

Because I’m baking for one or two people, I mix up the dry ingredients for a full recipe, then I put half away in a mason jar to use another day for fresh scones. Just jot down what to add to make the recipe and tape it to the jar, easy!!

Hot from the oven, let it cool 10 minutes in the bowl.

This chocolate soda bread I made using that saved half of dry ingredients. I made scones the other day that were half white flour and half wheat, so that’s what I used to make this bread.

The house smells of warm chocolate, can anything be as nice?

It makes a nice little loaf and I think merits more experimenting on my part! I’ve baked plain soda bread and put it right on the cookie sheet as a loaf and added seeds and nuts; there’s so much you can do with it!

The slits I cut really spread open on this loaf!

The recipe I give here has you mix up the full dry ingredients then divide it. I suggest using all white flour first so you can try the recipe another day and make simple soda scones and see how nice and easy they are. After that try what you like! ps. I always use unbleached white flour and have found no difference in using the cheaper brand from my local supermarket, just make sure it’s unbleached.

Sliced and ready for butter!

Chocolate Soda Bread (by me!)

1. Mix up the first 4  ingredients and measure 2 c + 1 tsp of flour mixture into a jar with a tight lid, put aside to use for another batch of scones.

450g (1 lb) (4 c)  Flour (can use 2 c white 2 c wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp – 1 T sugar (depending on how sweet you like your scones, for dinner or savoury scones I only use 1 tsp)
__________________________________________________________________________
3 T sugar
4 T cocoa powder
1/2 c choc. chips
1 egg
200 ml buttermilk (or add 1 T lemon juice to reg. milk)
1 tsp vanilla

2. To what’s left in the bowl add and mix well:
3 T sugar
4 T cocoa powder – I used my measuring spoon but didn’t level it and if you sift the cocoa in, it won’t have any lumps.

3. Add 1/2 c chocolate chips and mix around.

4. In a glass measuring cup put:
1 egg (beat egg in the cup then measure out 1 T and put in a small dish to use for brushing the top of the loaf)
1 T lemon juice (leave out if you use buttermilk)
add enough milk to make 200 ml total (use buttermilk if you have it)
add 1 tsp vanilla mix well.

5. Now add liquid to flour all at once and stir with fork or spatula to get all ingredients wet. Then use spatula to start to push it together while scraping the sides of bowl clean. Now use your hand to push it together into a ball as you keep turning it in the bowl and picking up flour, use a kneading motion by folding the dough gently too. You can do the whole thing in the bowl if you like. Don’t overwork it, just get it smooth. Now use both hands to form a ball.

6. Put in a small greased (spray) pyrex bowl and cut an X in the top with sharp knife and gently push apart. Brush top with the 1 T of egg, getting into the cracks too.

7. Bake at 420 F for 5 min. then turn down to 375 F for 45 min. Let cool in bowl 10 min. then remove to cool completely on rack.

Don’t forget to read my notes below about the recipe.

Why don't you try making some today?

MY NOTES:

  •  I think next time I’ll just bake it at 375 for 45 minutes, it should be hot enough.
  • For scones bake at 450F / 230C oven 10-12 min. Pat dough out thick, cut, bake on floured pan.
  • I haven’t tried it yet but you should be able to bake loaf right on a pan too, floured…maybe shaped like a log with slit cut down centre, or ball with X cut. I think it would make unbelievable scones! My friends will be begging me to have tea and invite them! 🙂
  • It would be nice with dried cherries or nuts added!
  • Also in this bread I used 1/2 an egg but have since changed it so it’s a bit more egg and you take out a tad for the top. It should help it be moister, it’s such a tiny amount it shouldn’t matter. Even using one whole egg is probably fine!
  • About cutting the X in the dough, Rachel Allen says that’s to ‘release the fairies’! I love that, I’ve always done it because it’s just traditional and I think it helps it open as it raises but I love her poetic and very Irish explanation!
  • Remember this is a soda bread, it smells like cake but isn’t. Though it’s yummy it’s sturdy but the great thing is there’s hardly any fat or sugar in it like a cake. It’s great in the morning with your coffee while you wait for your oatmeal to cook and I bet the kids would love it as a snack with butter. I haven’t tried it toasted yet but if you do, don’t toast it too long and remember those chips will be HOT! (don’t want the little ones burning their mouth)

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Sour Cream Banana Bread

Sour Cream Banana Bread

This recipe makes either two large (7×3″) loaves or what I prefer, four small loaves. It’s nice and moist!

Sliced and ready for butter!

Sour Cream Banana Bread

6 Tablespoons or 3/4 of a stick butter, softened.
1 1/4 c white sugar (I have since decreased the sugar to 3/4 c without ruining it,  it’s your choice.)
2 medium eggs
3 ripe bananas (1 1/3 c)
8 oz sour cream (1 c)
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp  cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 c flour
1/2 c walnuts chopped

Cinnamon and sugar to dust pans = about 1/8 c sugar + 1/2 tsp or more of cinnamon. I keep a small jar of cinnamon sugar in the cupboard, I don’t measure the cinnamon really, just add and shake until it ‘looks’ right!

1. Turn on oven to 325 degrees F, grease your pans (I used veg. spray) then pour the cinn/sugar mix into the pan and tip around to coat all sides and bottom. This is optional but makes a nice touch.

2. Cream butter and sugar well, mix in eggs, then mashed banana, sour cream, vanilla. I like to make things by hand but I found this was just easier to put in the mixer and let it go while I did things, nice and fluffy!

3. Mix the dry ingredients, flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a bowl using a whisk. Add to mixer then add the nuts. If someone in the family doesn’t like nuts, leave them out for now, put some batter in one pan, then add some nuts to the rest! I do this all the time when I want to experiment with adding ingredients; I think raisins or chocolate chips would be nice in this recipe!

4. Sprinkle some chopped nuts along the top center of each before you put in the oven, it really makes them look sooo nice when they’re done. Bake one hour, center rack of the oven.

5. Cool for ten minutes or more then remove carefully from pans, let cool on a rack (if you can keep from cutting into one!)

Warm from the pans...ooo smells so good!

This bread is so moist you don’t need to butter it, BUT it DOES taste really yummy with fresh, creamy butter!  Where’s my cup of tea? It’s time for Banana Bread!

You can see the cinn/sugar coating on the pans

  • When cool I like to take two small loaves and wrap them with wax paper, then wrap with a few layers of plastic wrap then pop them in the freezer, or give a fresh loaf to your neighbor who just snow-plowed your driveway!!
  • I keep a small jar of chopped mixed nuts by my stove for adding into oatmeal. It’s great to sprinkle on your quick breads like this; my mix is pecans, walnuts and almonds.
  • You can also top with this mixture: 1/2 c brown sugar, 1/2 c flour, 2-3 T butter (soft), 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/3 c walnuts. Don’t overload tops if doing muffins, it weighs them down, but it tastes sooo good! Makes more than enough.
  • This bread is also good with chocolate chips added and / or raisins.
  • The original recipe called for 1 1/4 c sugar, I decreased it to 3/4 c and think it tastes fine. Also I increased the vanilla and cinnamon from 1 tsp to 2 tsp.
  • If making into muffins, bake for only 35 min or so.
  • If your low on sour cream you can use yogurt or top off with a couple spoonfuls of mayonnaise! Yup you heard me right, I actually like to add it for more flavor! But don’t tell the family, just do it.

Enjoy your banana bread!

Sweet Potato Pecan Quick Bread

Sweet Potato Pecan Quick Bread

I got this recipe online awhile ago, from “Your Guide to Southern US Cuisine”, I only changed a few steps.It’s low fat which is nice but seems to have it’s share of sugar.  I changed it to be made in one bowl, very easy!

Sweet Potato Pecan Quick Bread

1 c cooked mashed sweet potatoes
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 c applesauce
4 Tablespoons milk
1 c sugar (white)
1 c chopped pecans
1/2 c raisins, chopped dates or a combination

1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 325F and grease either one large loaf pan or 3 small ones.
2.  Boil two sweet potatoes then mash, don’t add anything to them then let it reach room temperature.

Put wet ingredients in big mixing bowl

3.  Put potato, eggs, applesauce and milk in large bowl and mix all with a whisk or fork. You can beat eggs first but I just
did them in the bowl by tipping it to one side from the other ingredients, then mix it all up. Looks messy and yuchy! Add sugar and mix well.

Dates and raisins

4.  I used some of each the raisins and dates, just tear the dates up with your fingers, quite a sticky job!, then add to batter.

smashing nuts

5.  Crush pecans using a mallet, heavy cup or rolling pin by putting them into a small plastic bag then whacking them on a cutting board. Then fill measuring cup and add to batter.

Sticky batter, looks really appetizing! haha

Use a rubber spatula to mix the batter well, scraping sides all around and folding into centre.

put dry ingredients in sieve or sifter

6.  Place your sifter or mesh sieve on a plate and gently put the dry ingredients in there as you measure them. Sift it on top of the batter and mix in with spatula.

Spoon batter into pans

7.  Spray pan(s) with cooking spray or grease with shortening and evenly distribute the batter in pan(s). Use your spoon or spatula to pat the top of the batter to make it spread out evenly in the pan. I sprinkled chopped nuts along the centre top before I put them in the oven. You can either bake one big loaf or three small ones, the original recipe said one loaf, but there’s a lot of batter!

Cooling on rack

8.  Bake 1 hour plus 5-10 minutes at 325 F then remove and cool for 15 minutes on a rack. Remove from pans when you can stand it no longer (the wait I mean!) and let cool the rest of the way on rack.  How long can you go before cutting it I wonder?

Ginger say's how much she loves Sweet Potato Bread!

Note: I just brewed some hot tea and cut a few slices, put some butter on, and it’s very good! I think I’d throw a bit extra raisins and dates in next time and maybe even some more cinnamon. You can almost smell the applesauce and I wonder how it’d be with bits of chopped apple in it? Always something new to try!

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