Two days ago, on the morning of Saint Patrick’s Day, I decided that I should celebrate the holiday by making some Irish soda bread for lunch. I’m not a big fan of following recipes, because recipes stifle my creativity, but it’s not easy to make bread without a recipe. Too little or too much of an ingredient can completely mess up the texture. So I decided to compromise with myself and make up my own recipe. I made multi mini-loaves that were slightly different in order to determine the correct proportion of ingredients. The result is that I now have my own recipe for a particularly quick and simple Irish soda bread. I made small, single-serving-size loaves, which isn’t the way Irish soda bread is normally made, but for my purposes, it was convenient. This recipe makes three mini-loaves. I just want to state for the record that I am not an experienced baker and am not claiming that my recipe is the epitome of Irish soda breads, but I thought it turned out decently, considering that I was just making it up as I went along. In the future, I may experiment a little more and come up with an improved version of this recipe, but here is what I have for now.
Preparation time: About half an hour, counting the 15 minutes in the oven
Servings: About 3
Nutrition facts: I have no idea, except that bread is a starch. Also, if I counted correctly, and if that process of baking the bread doesn’t make a difference, each serving has between 150 and 200 calories. Then again, I’m pretty sure that my milk was skim milk, so that kept the caloric count on the low side.
1 ½ cups of flour
Approximately 1 cup of buttermilk or sour milk
Approximately 1 tablespoon sugar (a little extra won’t hurt!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Optional: fruit, preferably raisins. I used cranberries because that’s what I had.
Mix the egg with a couple tablespoons of the milk. Add the flour and stir. Add milk and stir until the texture is thick and doughy. It will be elastic like yeast dough, but less smooth. Add some sugar and the baking soda, plus a sprinkling of caraway seeds and a very small sprinkling of salt if you want. Stir thoroughly, then fold in the fruit. Divide the dough into thirds and plop them onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about fifteen minutes. The surface should be browned and crunchy.