St.Patrick’s Day had my head swirling with recipes for Irish Soda Bread, which made me uncomfortable. Bread… without yeast?!
Now, I am not crazy, I don’t think all breads must have yeast, or a sourdough starter, but I’ve been crazy for yeast since I picked up a fresh jar last month. But I just like the sweetness of yeasted bread; I love the smell as it rises and bakes. I love the chewy, stretchy goodness.
So, with all the talk of these soda breads floating around I scuffawed and tried to ignore it. But last night I was hungry. I hadn’t taken out anything for dinner and I didn’t feel like making anything involved. Remembering the tiny bit of shredded cheddar that had been sitting in my fridge for some time I decided that Irish soda bread was worth a try.
I started with Ina Garten’s recipe but made some changes to make it savory, cheesy, spicy, and delicious.
Spicy Cheddar Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk (I used 1.5 cups milk with 1.5 Tbsp of white vinegar to make my buttermilk)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until well integrated (pea-sized chunks or smaller). Add the cheese (note that I think it would taste best with 1 cup of cheese but I actually only had 1/2 cup on hand). Mix the cheese in so that the pieces are coated in flour.
With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl. Slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. The dough will be sticky, at this point I just got in there with my hands and mixed it up until it felt right (helpful huh).
Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
When done, tear into it with a pat of butter. Taste particularly good with a glass of beer and 30 Rock on television. Yum.