One of the goals on my 60 before 30 list is making yeasted bread. In my many years of baking, yeast breads are one category that I have not yet mastered. Irish soda bread, which uses baking soda instead of yeast as a leavening agent almost seems like a stepping stone into the world of yeast breads and is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!
Soda bread has a similar texture to yeast rolls and breads with familiar ingredients for this scone, biscuit, cookie and cake maker, and without the intimidation of yeast. Often times I find that homemade breads, biscuits, and scones can be too dry, but this soda bread is perfectly moist, and is the perfect density to hold up your favorite mix-ins but still serve as a great snack or breakfast treat. I may or may not have had soda bread toast for bread every morning after making this loaf. ;)
The honey provides a hint of sweetness, but isn’t overboard, leaving room for those mix-ins to add their own flavors. It is so versatile and works for breakfast, as a snack, or with dinner. I love toasting a slice and topping it with a thin layer of melty butter and a drizzle of honey, paired with my morning or afternoon tea. There is something about a warm slice of homemade bread that is just relaxing and comforting.
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, I’m excited to make even more loaves of Irish soda bread to share (and maybe one to keep for myself ;) ).
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup honey
1 ¾ cups milk
2/3 cup mix-ins, my favorites are chopped dates (about 8 dates) or chocolate chunks
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan or a Dutch oven with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, honey, and egg.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. With the mixer on low, gradually pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Increase speed and mix on medium speed until the dough comes together. If you are using a mix-in, toss the mix-ins with a bit of flour then add them to the dough. Stir on medium speed again to “knead” the dough. Add a bit more flour if the dough is very sticky (it should still be a little sticky).
Place the dough in your prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until it is golden on top and set. Serve warm or cooled with a smear of butter and enjoy!
This bread is best within a few days of baking.
Adapted from How Sweet It Is