In honour of St. Patrick's Day I'm re-posting my Irish soda bread recipe for anyone who's looking for a quick bread to go with dinner. It takes less than an hour from start to finish and is so hearty.
Here's what you'll need to make two loaves.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 tsps baking soda
1.5 tsps salt
2 cups buttermilk (or you can use regular milk and add 2 tbsp. of lemon juice to it)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup dried fruit
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together your flour, baking soda, and salt. Add in your fruit and nuts. We were really low on supplies so all I had were cashews and canned pineapple. I would have preferred dried cranberries, but you work with what you have. Add your buttermilk. If you are using milk & lemon juice, let it sit for 10 minutes before adding it to the mixture.
Stir your mixture for a minute or two but don't over mix it. Dust some flour onto the counter or a cutting board and plop your dough down. Form it into a ball and divide it into two parts. Shape each half into a loaf and place it on a baking sheet (dusted with flour if you want). This bread doesn't rise very much so you'll have to decide how tall you want it to be. I think I'll make smaller, higher loaves next time. Cut a cross-hatch or stripes into the top of each loaf to allow for expansion and to ensure the bread bakes evenly.
I had some leftover cashews so I sprinkled them on the top. You could also brush the loaves with melted butter if you wanted to. Put the loaves into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Insert a toothpick or knife into the centre of each loaf. If it comes out clean your bread is finished baking. Adjust baking time as needed.
Once removed from the oven you have two choices. If you want a crusty loaf, let them cool as they are. If you like your bread softer, wrap each loaf in a damp (not wet) tea towel and leave to cool. I personally like a harder crust but Tom doesn't, so I wrapped them.
Look at that. Perfect golden brown doneness.
At this point you'll want to slice into this beauty and slather it with butter and jam. Or peanut butter. Or cream cheese. Or even guacamole. The options are endless.
This bread was just a little too easy. Dangerously so. I could see myself baking (and eating) a loaf every day. I'm going to have to start giving it away I think.