Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Herbed Irish Soda Bread with Parmesan Spinach Butter

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Irish soda bread has a bit of a bad reputation for being dry and kind of bland. It is also usually studded with raisins. Growing up, I hated, no, detested raisins. They were the chocolate chip's evil twin, lurking in my cookies. Now that I am older, I like raisins and all things raisiny; dried figs, dates, etc. But I still sometimes have a slight aversion to those pesky raisins. Here is a delicious and full flavored recipe for Irish soda bread with rosemary, sage, thyme, parsely and dill. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day!

Herbed Irish Soda Bread
Recipe by Darina Allen

3 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons freshly chopped herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, dill, and parsley
12 to 14 ounces buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a
large bowl, make a well in the center and pour all of the buttermilk in at once. Using 1 hand, stir in a full circle starting in the center of the bowl working towards the outside of the bowl until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, a matter of seconds, turn it out onto a well-floured board. Roll dough around gently with floured hands for a second, just enough to tidy it up, flip the dough over. Pat the dough into a round about 1 1/2-inches deep.

Cut a deep cross on it with a sharp knife, prick the four sections all over with a fork to let steam out.

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Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until just cooked. If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: if it is cooked it will sound hollow.

This can also easily be made into a sweeter version by adding about 1/4 cup of sugar or honey, raisins, nuts, chocolate chips. You can pretty much put anything you would like in your Irish soda bread.

Parmesan Spinach Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons cooked chopped frozen spinach, liquid squeezed out

Combine all ingredients in small bowl until incorporated.

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So there it is, delicious savory Irish soda bread. This goes so nicely with a hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea. Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

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  1. Looks so delicious! We don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day here, but I might make this...

  2. A bread without yeast, wow:) I should try it someday... it looks so beautiful in your pictures! I also loved the idea of spinach Parmesan butter, never thought of adding spinach to butter before!

  3. I made a brown Irish soda bread earlier in the week that was great but I'm tempted to try this one as well. Love the addition of herbs; they're so pretty in the uncooked dough.

  4. that looks so delicious, I really must try soda bread !! I can smell the rich & fantastic parfume of fresh herbs baked

  5. Well I know what I am baking to go with my big pot of stew. Thanks nice easy sounding recipe. Going to try your butter too, that looks nice.

  6. Your irish soda bread variation looks so good with the herbs! I've only made it plain and with raisins. This savory idea sounds delicious

  7. Thanks so much for all the comments guys! I appreciate the feedback so much. If you tried this recipe out yesterday, I truly hope you enjoyed it!! :) Lots of love!!!

  8. Made this tonight. It is by far the best soda bread EVER!! We also had corned beef, colcannon, and carrots cooked in the beef liquid... my boyfriend and I ate half a loaf with dinner, just between the two of us!! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  9. You are so welcome Orion! I'm thrilled you tried it out and loved it : ) The rest of your dinner sounds AMAZING!!