Easy Irish Soda Bread for a great St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
When you think of Texas you might not think of the Irish, and while I’m not Irish myself (except for St. Patty’s Day, when I kick back a few glasses of Jameson or Tullamore Dew), most of my closest childhood friends are of Irish descent. This recipe is a basic Irish soda bread, (adapted and edited from official the Guinness Beer recipe blog) that I like to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day gatherings.
Unlike many Irish soda bread recipes, this one yields a light, airy and tender crumb with just a hint of crispiness from the cheese as it oozes out during baking. The bread is quick and easy to make and is slightly spicy with minced pickled jalapeños baked in. Try corned beef brisket between two toasted slices of this bread for a different take on your St. Patrick’s Day meal.
To all my friends from the old neighborhood…this one’s for you!
Irish Soda Bread with Sharp Irish Cheddar and Jalapeno
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 8 oz buttermilk
- 6 tbsp butter, melted Preferably Kerrygold Irish Butter
- 1/2 cup jalapenos, pickled and chopped
- 4 oz Irish cheddar, in small cubes Preferably Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with Irish Whiskey. Kerrygold Dubliner will also work.
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds, freshly toasted
- 1 1/2 tsp Irish sea salt, like Celtic Sea Salt brand Maldon Sea Salt is a good substitute
- In a dry skillet, add the caraway seeds and cook, watching for the first wisps of smoke. When the smell of caraway becomes fragrant, remove from heat and pour into a cool bowl to stop the cooking process and reserve.
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar) together in a mixing bowl for stand mixer and mix well.
- Mix the egg, buttermilk and melted butter separately and reserve.
- Chop the pickled jalapenos. Dice the cheddar into small cubes.
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Generously spray cooking oil on the baking dish/pan. This bread has cheese in it that will ooze out while baking. Make sure the pan is thoroughly coated with oil.
- Set up a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook over the mixing bowl containing the dry mix. (Alternatively you can mix this with a large kitchen spoon in a bowl.) With the dough hook mixing on the slowest setting, add the wet ingredients to the dry. Slowly increase the speed of the dough hook, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides to help the flour to mix into the wet ingredients. The dough will still be a little dry. Don't worry about the unmixed portion for now.
- Add the chopped pickled jalapenos and the cubed Irish cheddar. Gently fold these into the dough mixture. The added moisture of the jalapenos should be enough to mix in the last of the flour. Use a large metal kitchen spoon to mix the last bits of flour and wet ingredients together. Be careful not to over mix the dough. Over mixing will make the soda bread tough. Mix the dough just enough to incorporate everything.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bread pan and robustly smack the pan down on a safe cutting board surface to get rid of any bubbles. If needed, work the dough a little to even it out in the pan.
- Add the finishing salt by sprinkling it along the top of the bread and place into a preheated oven at 400 degrees. Bake for 45-50 minutes. With an instant read thermometer, test the bread for doneness. The bread should be 190-195 to be cooked through. Don't worry if it's cooked up to 205 degrees it's still fine, but immediately take out of the oven.
- Once the bread is cooked, the top should have a slightly golden brown appearance. Take a long thin knife and run it gently around the edge to loosen the bread from the pan. Carefully upend the bread pan onto a wire cooling rack. (If you don't have a cooling rack, you can can elevate the bread slightly using two wooden spoons placed underneath.) The idea is to allow air underneath the bread to be sure it cools properly without sweating, which would make the bottom soggy.