Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sourdough Surprises March: Irish Soda Bread Two Ways

As soon as the dish for Sourdough Surprises is revealed, I go into planning mode. What can I do that is different? Cinnamon rolls? Let's add strawberries and mangoes. . But for this month, I thought I would stick to tradition. (Well, tradition plus the required sourdough starter.) I've never had Irish Soda Bread in any form so why not start with the basics?  I started looking for traditional recipes and that's when I came across the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread and they take this thing SERIOUSLY.

Let me share some quotes.

"If your "soda bread" has raisins, it's not "soda bread! It's called "Spotted Dog" or "Railway Cake"! If it contains raisins, eggs, baking powder, sugar or shortening, it's called "cake", not "bread." All are tasty, but not traditional Irish Soda Bread!"

"Would "French Bread" (15th century) still be "French Bread" if whiskey, raisins, or other random ingredients were added to the mix? Would Jewish Matzo (unleavened bread) used to remember the passage of the Israelites out of Egypt still be Matzo if we add raisins, butter, sugar, eggs, and even orange zest? So why is traditional "Irish Soda Bread" (19th century) turned into a dessert and labeled "Traditional Irish Soda Bread?" OK, maybe you don't like the analogy, but you get the point!"

Alrighty then.

The recipe provided for white (as opposed to brown - which is whole wheat) has

4 cups of all purpose flour.
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

I used 1/2 cup of sourdough starter to replace some of the flour and the buttermilk. I also halved the recipe. So here's what I did:



Sourdough Irish Soda Bread 

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sourdough starter, 166%
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 F
Mix flour, baking soda and salt together. Add starter and buttermilk. Mix lightly to bring together into a ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional buttermilk or water by the teaspoon.
Place the ball into a lightly greased cake pan. Flatten slightly and make a half inch deep cross in the top of the dough.
Cover with another cake pan and place in the oven.
After 30 minutes, remove the top cake pan and continue baking for another 10 minutes.

This was the end result. It had a yellowish tint which I associate with not having enough acid in the dough to neutralise the baking soda.. However, it didn't taste soapy so I didn't worry about it. But here's the thing. This was just OK. I wasn't in love. We needed to do something to this bread.

So let's add cheese, garlic and parsley and make it Cheddar Bay style. Now this bread? This bread I LOVED. This bread I shoved into my mouth every time I walked by it. This would not be approved Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread. And that's fine by me.


"Cheddar Bay" Irish Soda Bread

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sourdough starter, 166%
1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley


Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt and garlic powder together.Toss in the shredded cheese.  Add starter and buttermilk. Mix lightly to bring together into a ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional buttermilk or water by the teaspoon.
Place the ball into a lightly greased cake pan. Flatten slightly and make a half inch deep cross in the top of the dough.
Cover with another cake pan and place in the oven.
After 30 minutes, remove the top cake pan and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
Combine melted butter, garlic powder and parsley.
Remove bread from oven and immediately brush with butter mixture.



   

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24 comments:

  1. Cheddar Bay style all the way! The plain, un-cheddar-ified loaf can't even compare!

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    Replies
    1. I know, right?! Next I'll have to add some peppers.

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    2. I think you're on to something with the peppers! maybe a little pimento as well?

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  2. That cheddar Bay one sounds amazing - I'll have to try it myself!

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    1. Definitely try it! Be sure to tell me what you did and if you loved it. Maybe a rye version.

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  3. haha Love that there is a society of soda bread! :) And cheddar bay style?! Amazing! I think I might have to make one of those...right away!

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    1. It's so quick that I know that this will be one of the loaves I make more than once.

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  4. Ha I never knew! Great information and looks so delicious.

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  5. Stopped by to read/look at your soda bread and got a ton of information. A society? Who knew?

    I like the cheddar bay style bread. Should try it sometime.

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    Replies
    1. I don't think many people know about this society. Haha.
      Please try it!

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  6. Oh my goodness, they DO take their Irish Soda Bread seriously!! Now I feel guilty for including currants and orange zest, lol! I'm intrigued by the short ingredients list but I think that my opinion would be similar to yours, although your plain loaf looks great (as does the one with cheese, of course!).

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    Replies
    1. There's a reason people started adding ingredients to the base. *smile*

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  7. The society wouldn't approve of my zaatar soda bread, but they sure do taste better when you add stuff to them. Your cheddar loaf looks mouth-watering!

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    Replies
    1. I think the society needs to try zaatar before they knock zaatar.

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  8. I love the sound of the cheesy one, even if the traditionalists would disapprove!

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    1. The traditionalists don't know what they are missing.

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  9. I am definitely going to try the Cheddar Bay style, asap! Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

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  10. Now there's a bread I could sink my teeth into. It looks so good! I'll have to try this version even if it isn't approved.

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  11. Lol at those quotes! The cheddar version sounds amazing indeed, even if it's not technically a soda bread :P

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