Tuesday Chatter

So what makes this Irish?  Did you go strictly by the book or is your version a little sweeter, nuttier, or more savory?  Have at it!

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75 thoughts on “Tuesday Chatter

  1. In the early and mid 1800’s, rural Ireland did not have a strong tradition of yeast bread making. Baking was done in the home and, in addition to having limited supplies, time was often at a premium. The use of baking soda as a leavening agent was quick, effective and it produced a much more consistent result than yeast did. It caught on quickly and made soda breads a staple of the Irish diet until commercial bread production began in earnest, though it is still popular in Ireland and many other parts of the world.

    The original soda breads contained nothing more than flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt. The buttermilk was leftover from the butter making process and the bread was almost always served with freshly churned butter. Today, the breads often contain additional ingredients, like sugar, butter, currants or caraway seeds to enhance the flavor of the bread. Soda bread is heartier than most yeast breads and pairs very well with soups, stews and meat dishes. It also makes outstanding toast

    Read more: http://www.slashfood.com/2006/03/16/the-history-of-irish-soda-bread/#ixzz1pbfQ69EQ

  2. I did add a bit of sugar & cognac infused currants for a very pleasing bread, and I have heard quite a few excellent suggestions on this site. This was a delight to make!

  3. I made some St. Patrick’s day and served it with some real Irish butter! It was very tasty – I added a cup ‘o raisins and a tablespoon of caraway seeds. It was a hit at our Irish meal.

  4. Friends were coming over for an Irish dinner on Friday. We made the soda bread per the recipe – no additions. It was amazing.

    The storage section of the recipe warns that leftover bread will turn hard as a rock by the end of the day. Not ours. We refrigerated it overnight in a plastic bag and it was amazing the next day. We toasted it for breakfast and the guys polished it off in the afternoon.

    What an unexpected bonus!

    • Mine didn’t get hard at all either – I had been worried at first! But I just wrapped it in foil, then in a large plastic bag. It was perfect still the next day – but lasted less than 24 hours for my family!

  5. I made three versions of soda bread this year for St. Pat’s, and I’d have to rank this one 3rd of the 3. Not bad, but not as good as the other two.

  6. Hello from Switzerland! It’s 00:13 … it’s Tuesday again!
    I’ve just published on my blog the fabulous experience I’ve made with the Irish Soda Bread.
    First time I made it with Cranberries; then with chocolate chips, raisins and natural vanilla extract; then again with cinnamonn and raisins.
    Oh! we just cannot have enough of it!
    I love the fact that no sugar or fat are added.
    After the first recipe made with 100% all purpose flour, I’ve started baking with 50% APF and 50% wholemeal flour just to make it more healtier.
    LOVELY RECIPE! LOVELY GROUP! So happy to have joined !

    PS: I’ve “contaminated” my “friendship area”: everybody is baking Irish Soda Bread!

  7. I followed the recipe in the book and served it with our traditional St. Paddy’s day dinner of corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes. As a special treat I bought Kerry Gold butter in keeping with the holiday theme. We ate almost the whole loaf and had the leftovers for breakfast toasted with butter and apricot lekvar. I loved how easy it was to make and can’t wait to try a version with some whole wheat or bran flour and maybe some nuts and dried fruit. This will be an excellent bread to make to go with winter soups and stews. It has such a nice chewy crust and dense crumb. Success!

  8. I was pleasantly surprised with this recipe.

    Was dragging my heels about making it at first. I had purchased this bread some time ago, and didn’t like it. So, I didn’t have high expectations. But, I baked it anyway. It was excellent!

    I did steer a bit off track and added craisins and walnuts. Originally, wanted to add currants, but none to be found in the supermarket.

    The recipe mentioned that it would be very hard after one day. I wrapped my bread in plastic wrap. Next day, it was still soft…which I was happy to see. Will bake this again.

    ~Carmen

  9. I made things way more complicated for myself than I should have! Instead of 1 big loaf I made 5 mini loaves (I meant to make 6 but the dough was so sticky I ended up having to wash the last one off my hands!), each with a different type of raisin mixed in. One loaf had raisins soaked in spiced rum, one had raisins soaked in brandy, another had raisins soaked in amaretto, and another had raisins soaked in orange juice. The last loaf had cherry-infused craisins soaked in orange juice. The breads were all super good; the raisins lended a subtle flavor contrast between them. I’ll definitely be making this again soon :)

  10. I followed the book and loved it…was scared it was going to rock hard by the next day but didn’t happen at all. I will trying adding raisins or the choc chips next time was fun to bake.

  11. I had a cup of buttermilk so I added a cup of sour cream and a little bit more milk. I also added a cup full of diced smoked cheddar cheese. I used 3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup of ap flour. My version was far from the followed recipe but I loved it and so did everyone else at the dinner party even the girls who bach at carbs loaded with dairy, they took seconds….

  12. I added chocolate covered raisins and a bit of sugar to my first loaf. Turned out saltier than I thought it was going to be, but it was delicious nonetheless! The next day I used the rest of the buttermilk to bake a similar loaf but added some sunflower seeds (which I didn’t blog about).

    I also experimented with something completely different and made an Asian version of the bread which scallions and chopped dried shrimp. I know it might sound weird if you’re not used to the flavors but it turned out great! I think my parents would have really appreciated it :)

  13. I made my bread this evening and followed the recipe exactly. Against my better judgment, I followed the recipe and poured in all the buttermilk. My dough was very sticky as a result and I had to wet my hands to shape it into a loaf. Next time I’ll add 1 1/2 C buttermilk and then some more if it needs it. The X cut in my loaf didn’t turn out because it was so sticky and the loaf ended up splitting along the side. It was certainly not a pretty loaf of bread, but know what? It was delicious! Really good. My husband took a bite and said “This is amazing!” The flavor and texture seemed like it would require a much more complicated recipe. We’re looking forward to having the leftovers with strawberry freezer jam for breakfast tomorrow and our corned beef leftovers for dinner. I will definitely make this again, it’s pretty much the easiest recipe I have for bread/rolls/biscuits, and it’s really good :)

  14. It is so nice to here that the bread is not going to turn rock hard. At least not for everybody. Mine has not lasted that long, but as I loved it so much with olives, now I have no doubts making them again even the day before. :)))

  15. It’s 09:30 am. I’ve been reading and enjoying many of your great blogs…
    And guess what I’m going to do now: stand up , walk into the kitchen and bake an Irish Soda Bread (again)
    PS: I’ve already left a post on “added ingredients” (approx 15 comments above :-) )

  16. I am beginning to read and prepare for the next recipe – which calls for prosciutto. I am a vegetarian. I’m trying to think what I can substitute for the prosciutto that will offer a similar burst of salty flavor. Any other vegetarians out there that have the same dilemma? Substituting is something I am quite a novice at. Thanks! Kristine

    • How about olives (kalamata or some other fancy kind vs the black ones in a can) and roasted red peppers or sundried tomatoes? Yum! We aren’t vegetarian, but the other day I checked out the price of prosciutto. Don’t know if I’m willing to pay $7 for 3 oz. I was thinking of just subbing regular ham, but those veggie additions sound right up my alley!

      • I love both the roasted peppers and the kalamata olives ideas! I never would have thought of either. Sun dried tomatoes too! Okay, thanks to both of you I have a more creative thinking cap on :) Will be doing my shopping this weekend and baking next week. If you think of other possibilities, send them out! I, too, will keep in touch! Best, Kristine

  17. Hi! I’m a vegetarian too, and am having the same thoughts. I contemplated veggie faux-meat, but those are never too wonderful. Think I might just add some additional veggies, maybe roasted peppers? If anyone has ideas, please let us know!

    Anyway, I loved the soda bread. After seeing someone mention chocolate chips, I’m kind of tempted to make it again (loaf #5!) with chocolate… Maybe in the form of small buns. Endless variation is fun!

    • Next time I’m going to make it with whole wheat flour, too! My book didn’t arrive until a few days ago (took 2 weeks from Amazon for some reason), and I was under the impression that the recipe called for whole wheat flour so I’d purchased a bag of it in preparation. Also I can say that diced cheddar and sliced green onions are very yummy additions :)

  18. For years, it’s been my St. Patrick’s Day tradition to make the Irish Soda Bread from “The Village Baker’s Wife” cookbook. The authors – Gayle and Joe Ortiz – own a wonderful bakery in Capitola, CA and Joe was featured in the “Baking with Julia” TV show and book; he made the Pain de Campagne and variations. The Irish Soda Bread in “The Village Baker’s Wife” includes both white and whole wheat flours, along with candied orange peel and raisins. I modified my tradition this year and made the relatively simpler Marion Cunningham version, which was also a big hit. I believe it’s a bread I’ll make more often, because it’s so easy to throw together at the last minute if I suddenly decide I want some bread to go with dinner.

  19. I stuck to the recipe. This is not my first soda bread, but this is different from my usual recipe (which uses some whole wheat flour). I loved it.

    Store-bought soda bread always seems to be horribly dry, but it’s the easiest thing i the world (literally) to make. Thanks for putting it on the schedule!

    • I did this last year :) Added the food coloring into the buttermilk. My bread had diced cheddar in it so I called it Leprechaun bread and said the cheese was gold nuggets. It was kind of cute, but the color was rather off putting :D What’s life without a bit of fun though, right?

  20. I followed the basic recipe, and loved the bread. As with many others, I was pleased that the leftovers (sliced and tossed in a plastic bag) were still moist and tasty the next day.

    While I’d love to make this my go-to recipe for those times I need bread in a hurry, I never have buttermilk in the house. Has anyone experimented making the bread with faux buttermilk (regular milk + vinegar)? I’m wondering if that will satisfy the chemical requirements for rising.

  21. Pingback: {TWD/BwJ} Irish Soda Bread « Tea and Scones

  22. I couldn’t believe how moist and chewy this bread came out. With so few ingredients I was really expecting a dry, crumbly, scone like texture. I just made the plain versions, but am looking forward to trying this again with some of the suggested variations.

  23. I made two versions… one with buttermilk and the other with yoghurt and wee bit of water to help the yoghurt loosen up.. the one with the yoghurt was softer and stayed softer for longer!!

    Ten minutes before I took them out..I brushed some milk on them..to give them a deeper colour as well as make the crust slightly softer!!

  24. We loved this recipe, it brought back memories of our trip to Ireland. Such an easy fun recipe. My 2 year old was so proud to add all the ingredients in herself. :)

  25. I made this Saturday and it’s still great! In fact, I’m enjoying the last of it as I type. I made two so I could use the whole quart of buttermilk, and I gave one to a friend. I was going to add dried fruit, but opted not to in the end. I did, however, sprinkle them with sugar before baking. My husband does this when he makes scones so I thought I’d try it with this. I loved how it turned out. So simple, so dense, and so tasty in the mornings with strawberry preserves. I will definitely make this again and again!

  26. It was the perfect thing to make and eat on the deck in this beautiful but unusual weather! The bread was great, dough was easy to work with, a beautiful crust with the perfect crumb/texture. My additions were caraway seeds and currants, part tradition from traveling and part tradition from my youth! No worries about the left overs….there were none!

  27. This is more than likely the easiest bread a person could ever make, and wonderful. Check out my blog if you get a minute.

    Bon Appetit ~
    bygore.wordpress.com

  28. I went strictly traditional and it came out better than my Mom’s, (shhh don’t tell her). And was a bit of a confidence boost after last month’s rugelach disaster. I was thrilled this came out, albeit sooo much easier than rugelach.

  29. I made my loaf last night and just posted my blog update. I plan to serve it at an event this afternoon. Since I was concerned about freshness, I added a little fat by subbing 1/4 cup of melted butter for a portion of the buttermilk. I also added a cup of dark raisins that I’d soaked in some whiskey. (If it’s good, I may not share it. Ha.)

  30. I love this bread — easy to make and who doesn’t love warm bread from the oven? I made my sweet with 3 tbl added honey, 1/2 cups dried blueberries and 1 tbl meyer lemon zest. Slathered with butter and honey it was delicious. However, I also used a mix of oat flour and all-purpose so it was a little dense (I like the denser, chewy flours) but that made it hard as a rock by the next day. But there was hardly any left by then :)

  31. This is my first time participating. I decided to follow the recipe, plus add currents. The most interesting thing (to me) happened while I was working with the dough. I had a flashback to when I was child watching my grandmother making soda biscuits. It was a warm, happy memory and since I know that we have some Irish heritage I wondered where she had learned to make her biscuits. The biscuits were free-form, hand patted into flat-ish disks, much like this soda bread.

    • I make “free form” (I like that term!) biscuits, too. Mostly because I don’t see the point in dirtying the counter top, rolling pin, and a round cutter just to make biscuits :D Patted disks works fine for me and my husband actually prefers them this way! Great to know I’m not the only one who does biscuits like this.

  32. I thought it was interesting how many people how very sticky wet dough and then others had dry dough going together. Is there an explanation for that?? We all used the same recipe, right. Is it measuring styles???

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