Irish Soda Bread

Posted on 03/19/2010. Filed under: Baking |

I am no baker, by any means. It’s too scientific and it takes too long. You don’t know how things are going until it’s done, out of the oven, and if you’ve failed then there’s little to no way to fix it. But I needed a loaf of Irish Soda Bread for another dish I was making and I wasn’t about to spend $7 on two tiny-ass loaves of soda bread from Ukrop’s, even if they are going out of business. 

My (belated) St. Patrick’s Day Feast involved two dishes from the same cookbook, the McGuire’s Irish Pub Cookbook. McGuire’s is a popular restaurant in my hometown of Pensacola, Florida, and their bread pudding with Irish whiskey sauce is worth the long wait to sit down. The pudding is made with Irish Soda Bread that is baked in-house (I’m pretty sure…this is a place that brews its own beer, dry ages their beef, yadda yadda). The cookbook has a recipe for soda bread and I was stoked I didn’t have to go searching the internet for a recipe.

McGuire’s calls for four cups of all-purpose flour, one teaspoon of granulated sugar, one teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 Tablespoon of melted unsalted butter, one cup of buttermilk. I’m no baker, so I didn’t realize there’s no way in hell that the wet ingredients would form a dough with the dry. Until I started mixing and kneading and it became way too crumbly. Seems someone didn’t proof-read this recipe or try it out before the book went to print. Oh well. Fortunately I had enough basic ingredients on hand to pitch this crap and start over. I hunted around on TasteSpotting and found a good, basic soda bread recipe using everything I already had. Score!

I sifted the same amount of flour, one teaspoon each of baking soda & salt, and two Tablespoons of sugar in a large bowl. I melted a stick of unsalted butter in the microwave and let it cool while I made a well in the middle of the flour mixture. I poured two cups of buttermilk in the well and then the butter. I then pulled my rings off and got my hands all up in that junk.

(I hate stuff all over my hands…when I was in the kitchen at Whole Foods, I would wash my hands constantly. I’m amazed my hands weren’t cracking all the time. This is why I leave the meatloaf-making to Mom, and it pains me to roll meatballs. Yeah, this dough was sticky as hell, too.)

After getting my hands coated in sticky, sticky dough (lightly floured fingers don’t help either), I turned the dough out onto a lightly greased & floured flat baking sheet. I cut a cross on the top to prevent cracking and put it in a 425* preheated oven for about 39 minutes.

As much as I am not a baker, I love the smell of fresh-baked things. The warm, homey delicious smells of bread wafted through the house and when it was nice and golden brown I pulled the bread out of the oven. Amazing, bread that didn’t involve yeast or eggs!

I nibbled a little bit and it was crumbly and reminded me of homemade biscuits. I was damn proud of my first loaf of bread. And the end result of what the bread will be used in? Oh my God even better. But that’s for another blog.

Bon Appetit, y’all!

The end result, all crumbly warm goodness

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[…] known what dessert was going to be–soda bread pudding with Irish whiskey sauce. I made the soda bread the day before so all I had to do today for the dessert was just cut up the bread and assemble it. […]


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