Surprise Soda Bread

I love Saint Patrick’s Day.
As I noted a couple of years ago on this blog in a discussion of my unsainted great-grandmother, I’m only marginally Irish. Nevertheless, I’ve always embraced this holiday.
It’s cheerful at a time when the landscape in my beloved New England is gloomy.
It’s associated with any number of popular Irish and Irish-American songs.
Some are humorous, such as “Who Threw the Overalls in Mistress Murphy’s Chowder” and “Harrigan.” Only George M. Cohan could have constructed the interior rhymes in the latter.
Others are sentimental to the point of being maudlin. Since a lot of beer is drunk on this holiday no one objects.
I fully expect to evoke tears from the audience when I pay musical tribute to “me mither” during my little solo at our local Saint Patrick’s Day concert. (I’ll be singing “An Irish Lullaby.”)
I also love Saint Patrick’s Day because I look fabulous in green.
And because I love, love, love soda bread.
I’ve already posted recipes for white and whole-wheat soda bread. This year I’m using a recipe cribbed (with thanks!) from Cabot Cheese.
As soon as I saw Cabot’s Cheddar Soda Bread I knew it would be just the thing to serve with corned beef and cabbage or Irish beef or lamb stew. 

I have changed the recipe a little, of course.

First, I upped the Irish ante by using Irish cheddar—laced with porter. The marbled cheese gave the bread a gorgeous mottled look. The original cheddar might taste sharper, but this version still had lots of cheesiness. I can’t wait to try this cheese in my Irish cheese fondue.
Second, I switched Cabot’s salted butter to unsalted (there’s plenty of sodium in this recipe without more in the butter—and I say this as a girl who loves her salt) and used Kerrygold Irish butter.
Third, I threw in some caraway seeds. They are often used in soda bread. I find them a little strong in sweet breads, but they complement this savory recipe beautifully.
Enjoy—but eat sparingly. This bread is very filling. 

And if you’re in Alexandria, Virginia, Thursday night, come sing along with me and the Montebello Singers….

Surprise Soda Bread
2-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 cup (1/4 of a 1/2-pound package) Irish butter
1/2 pound Irish cheddar with porter (or stout!), grated
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line it with a silicone mat.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and caraway seeds. Stir in the cheese and blend well.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and the egg. Stir them gently into the dry ingredients.
Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured board and knead it a few times, until it holds together into a slightly flattened ball.
Pop your ball onto the prepared cookie sheet. You may cut a cross in the center, but my cutting wasn’t very successful so I would leave well enough alone.
Bake until the loaf has light brown spots and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean—35 to 40 minute or so.
Slice into small wedges (12 to 14). 

Makes 1 loaf.

Did I mention that I like to wear green?

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10 Responses to “Surprise Soda Bread”

  1. Margie Orr says:

    You do look great in green! Long live the Irish!

  2. You look fabulous in green!!

  3. Bread and cheese – my two favorite things. Leave it to you to combine them. Sounds perfect! And I do love an easy bread recipe.

    I’d love to be able to hear you perform but, alas, I’ll be here on Tortola celebrating the entrance of my little leprechaun into the teenage years. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, Tinky!

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    It was pretty darn tasty, Abigail, although I’m going back to my normal (not so filling!) bread for the big day. I hope you survive the birthday; 13 is a hard age for a girl and her mother.

    Frayed and Margie, thanks so much. A girl likes a little greenery at this time of year…….

  5. Ramona says:

    Tinky – This looks like an Irish Soda Bread I could really like. (I don’t care for the raisins that are in most recipes.)
    I wish I could hear you sing An Irish Lullaby – and you look fantastic in green.
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and yours.

  6. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thanks, Ramona. I adore raisins (and dried cranberries) in the sweet breads, but one can always use a change. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you, too……

  7. Adelaide says:

    I’ll have to try your version. Yesterday, before reading your post, I made traditional Irish soda bread with raisins. I’m all Italian, but will be wearing green on Thursday. Hubby is Irish and Scottish.

    On our recent trip to Ireland we got a lot of brown bread made with yeast, but no soda bread.

    Love you in green.

    Happy St. Pat’s Day.

  8. tinkyweisblat says:

    The brown bread sounds good to me, Adelaide. I hope you and the Celtic hubby have a good day, too….

  9. E. Sheppard says:

    This looks like another winner! I just shared it on Facebook and already have a comment. I think that’s the fastest EVER.

  10. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thanks for spreading the word, E. I think you may have gotten a comment faster than I did!

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