The Weekend Chef makes Irish Soda Bread

Featured cookbook: Quinoa 365 , by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming

Featured recipe: Irish Soda Bread

Featured story: One of my dormies at Reed made amazingly delicious Irish soda bread, and ever since she fed us all with it, I’ve wanted to make my own. It’s been four years or so since then, so it’s about time!

I pulled this recipe from the Quinoa 365 cookbook, which is a pretty awesome cookbook, when I was flipping through it looking for an interesting baked good to make. The recipe uses half quonoa flour and half whole wheat flour, so it’s a hearty bread. There is a small amount of butter, no egg, and the leavening agent is, naturally, baking soda.

I had a few problems with the recipe. After all of the ingredients are mixed together, you’re supposed to use your hands to shape the dough into a ball and turn it out onto a baking sheet. My dough was a bit too wet and sticky for this to work, so I mixed in some more flour until it got to the turn-out-able stage, but just barely. I didn’t want to mess with the ratios too much, after all. The end result wasn’t too dry, so I guess it worked fine.

Three tablespoons of butter didn’t seem like very much to cut into two cups of flour. Do note, however, that I had my home made butter in a lump, and didn’t try to measure it – I just eyeballed the three tablespoons.

The end result is a crumbly bread with a firm crust. The quinoa flavor really shines through. The texture is closer to a biscuit or a scone than a bread, but the crumb is larger and rounder than either of those. (Look at me, using fancy baking terminology like I know what I’m talking about.) While the loaf is quite tasty, it’s not what I think of when I think of Irish soda bread.

Beware: this bread will go bad quickly. (It’s all that whole grain flour, which goes rancid quickly.) Storing it in the fridge might have helped.

Will I make this recipe again? Maybe.

Will I try other Irish soda bread recipes? Absolutely. I hope to find something closer to what I remember from the good old dorm days.

Was it worth making? Definitely.

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