A NEW SPIN ON THE CLASSIC IRISH SODA BREAD…
My Irish garlic & cheddar soda bread isn’t like anything you have had before. Warm, inviting smells of garlic and cheddar cheese waft through the house as the dough slowly rises in a hot oven. It is the hardest thing to sit still and focus on work when all these smells are making their rounds.
Irish soda bread! You know the kind of bread where you don’t need to do an initial rise or a second proof or deal with yeast. The kind of bread where the reaction between acid and bases, in our case, buttermilk and baking soda, allow you to have instant bread gratification.
That means you eliminate the proofing process. It is as simple as mixing the bread dough in a bowl, placing it on a lined baking sheet or a dutch oven, and baking it. Potential carb overloading just got a whole lot easier. And the best thing is, no matter how many times you buy artisan bread, it is just not as satisfying as making a loaf at home. And therefore why not bake your own when it is this easy?
I know, typically when you hear the words “Irish soda bread” you think the more traditional version with currants or raisins or maybe even cranberries. A hint of orange zest to brighten the whole thing up and a little schmear of butter. However, I wanted to try it with herbs. Even though I didn’t go the rosemary route, I love the flavors that garlic and cheddar bring to this bread.
HOW TO MAKE THE IRISH GARLIC & CHEDDAR SODA BREAD…
As far as the process of baking soda bread, you start with the dry ingredients in a stand mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer, don’t worry, you can also do this by hand. Once the dry ingredients mix, you cut in the butter and then stir in the cheddar cheese.
In order, to bring the bread together you will need an egg and buttermilk. It is important to use buttermilk in this recipe and not regular milk. It is the reaction between the baking soda and buttermilk that gives Irish soda bread its name.
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use a few teaspoons of vinegar with regular milk. Allow it to stand for five minutes before using it in the recipe. However, I find that store-bought buttermilk produces significantly better results.
Once the Irish garlic & cheddar soda bread dough comes together, pop it into a parchment-lined dutch oven, a cast-iron skillet, or onto a baking sheet. Just be sure to make an X on top using a knife. This helps cook the bread more evenly.
If you are thinking of ways you can serve your Irish garlic & cheddar soda bread, let me help you out. You can serve it with a smear of butter or with a bowl of stew! Keep in mind though that soda bread usually won’t last as long as bread leavened with yeast, therefore it is best if consumed within two days.
The good thing is that it takes minutes to toss together so you can make it all the time!
IRISH GARLIC & CHEDDAR SODA BREAD
- 3¾-4 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup quick-cooking oats
- 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup shredded Irish cheddar cheese
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons cold, diced butter
- 1 large egg
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 190ºC. Line a dutch oven, a cast-iron skillet, or a 9-inch baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 3 ¾ cups of flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar on the stir setting.
- Add the cold butter and let the machine break the butter down into small, pea-sized pieces. You can also do this by hand using a pastry cutter.
- Add the cheddar cheese and let the machine stir for just a few seconds until mixed.
- In a large measuring cup, combine the egg and buttermilk.
- With the mixer on the stir setting, slowly pour in the wet ingredients until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.
- If the mixture still looks super wet, add 2 tablespoons of flour and dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Use your hands to shape the dough into a large disk. If the dough is still wet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and shape it.
- Place the dough on the prepared baking pan and cut an X across the top, slicing about 1/2 way through the loaf.
- Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour or until the bread is golden brown on top. Insert a skewer into the center of the bread and if it comes out clean, the bread is done. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing.
- DIY Buttermilk – Add 4 teaspoons of vinegar into a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 ½ cups. Let stand for 5-7 minutes before using it. Though this will work, I find that store-bought buttermilk produces significantly better results.
- Bread will stay fresh for up to 2 days. Bread made using baking soda for a leavening agent generally dries out much faster than yeast bread.