After a serious drought of bread baking I have returned! For my much anticipated (don’t laugh) second recipe I’ll be doing James Beard’s Irish Whole-Wheat Soda Bread.
Now I know what you’re thinking (really), I was supposed to go in order through Beard on Bread. But here’s the thing: I don’t want to. Because I really want Soda Bread.
This bread is actually one I’ve made before, I’ll be honest, just not this recipe. It’s not a yeast bread so it never scared me, and as such was the only bread I had ever successfully made before this whole endeavor began. This is probably because you can only find it in stores around St. Patrick’s day, and that was just not on. Because, like you may have noticed, I really fucking love Irish Soda Bread.
You may be wondering what prompted my return to bread (it’s not just soda bread and then a 5 month absence again, I promise), and I really want to give some profound reasoning here. But instead I’m going to be honest; I’ve been binge-watching The Great British Baking Show. Honestly, watching brits bake in a country side tent is so much more inspiring than I ever knew it could be.
This recipe is very simple:
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 level teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk
Quick side note: You should probably check to make sure you have all the ingredients before you try to start, that way you won’t have to walk to the store for baking soda. Hypothetically of course.
First you combine all the dry ingredients, then add the buttermilk and mix to consistency. Then knead (which will always be my favorite part) until a velvety texture and pop it in the over on a buttered sheet. Super simple stuff.
It’s also noted by Beard that this bread must be sliced paper thin, for soda bread should never be sliced thickly. Thanks James.
Now that my bread is baking (for about 35 minutes) I can do my dishes (a shocker for anyone who actually knows me) and figure out what to make for dinner that goes well with Whole-Wheat Soda Bread (everything according to Beard).
Alright, bread is done. It took longer than the 35 minutes by about about 10 minutes, but patience is a virtue after all (one I seriously lack, by the way–this is probably why bread making was never my forte in the past).
I was so impatient that I had the hardest time waiting for it to cool long enough so it didn’t burn me when I sliced it to taste (yes I made it for dinner, but I could hardly resist a little snack beforehand).
The familiar flavor of soda bread was a welcome taste, which I think makes it a success. The butter melted beautifully and the texture was so good I may have cried a little (just kidding…maybe). In fact I might write a sonnet about this bread one day. Honestly, I probably love fat and carbs more than Thor loves killing giants (read: a lot).