I’m just pulling the third batch of this Cheddar Herb Irish Soda bread out of the oven and my house smells UH-MAZING! Serve thick slices with a bowl of cozy soup for the perfect rustic meal.
Quick breads are where it’s at. They are quick, easy, versatile and make you look like a pro in the kitchen, zero actual skill required. Merriam Webster dictionary defines quick breads as; bread made with a leavening agent (such as baking powder or baking soda) that permits immediate baking of the dough or batter mixture. As someone with little patience, there’s one word that really resonates with me … ‘immediate’.
That’s right, no waiting for bread to proof and rise (always worth the wait, but sometimes a gal just doesn’t have that kind of time to kill, right?). And since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, this particular recipe seemed like a no-brainer. Speaking of which, stay tuned, because we have a full menu planned out for you to celebrate the occasion in style… if that’s your jam.
I re-made my old faithful Cranberry Currant Irish Soda Bread  this last weekend and it was a hit with our crew. The orange zest gives it such a punch of flavour, it’s perfect to make for a casual weekend brunch or for something special to serve over a cup of tea.
You can make this soda bread alongside this hearty Lentil Soup  (also a breeze to make with simple ingredients), my Potato Broccoli Soup , or with a steaming bowl of Cheater Chicken Noodle Soup  (my kids LOVE this one) for instant ‘Mom of the Year’ status. I mean, even if you don’t have kids, you’ll impress the pants off of any guest when you pull a warm loaf of this bread out of the oven to serve them! I love serving the bread on a rustic wooden cutting board with a bread knife and a pot of soup on the table for a casual dinner with wine served in tumblers and cozy wrinkled linen napkins.
I made it with thyme and then again with chives… I must say that I prefer the chives hands down, but if thyme is more up your alley it tasted great too! Both variations are below. And I was really pleased with the vegan version that I came up with, I will post it hopefully later today as well!
The wheat germ is something I’ve just always added to my soda bread – it gives it a little boost of vitamin E, B vitamins, protein and healthy fats. You can substitute half (or all) the flour for whole wheat flour to give the bread added fibre should you wish.
Irish Cheddar Herb Soda Bread
A super moist quick bread that is so simple to make, crunchy with a moist interior that is packed with cheddar herb flavour. Ideal for serving warm out of the oven with a cozy bowl of soup or stew. This makes 2 loafs and is enough to feed 10-12 hungry mouths!
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter or vegan butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 2 cups shredded aged cheddar or Irish Cheddar
- 1/3 cup finely chopped chives*
- 1 3/4 cup buttermilk**
- 2 eggs, beaten
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and, using your hands or a pastry blender, break the butter into pea-sized pieces. Stir in the cheese and chives.
Whisk together the buttermilk and eggs and add it to the flour mixture. Toss together using a fork until just combined (don't overwork the dough). It will look rough.
Empty the dough onto a floured surface, divide the dough into two equal sized balls and, using your hands, pat them together to form two round loaves.
Place the loaves on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a couple inches in between them, and bake until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom, about 40 minutes. Best served warm.
*substitute 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves for the chives if desired
**to substitute the buttermilk, stir 2 tablespoons of white vinegar into the equal volume of milk or almond milk and let it sit for 10 minutes before using.