With March around the corner, here’s a healthier version of Irish Soda Bread for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration. This quick bread from Cook’s Illustrated is a crusty, hearty bread, with a nutty flavor. No kneading, no waiting for it to rise. Just combine a few simple ingredients, mix and bake. In about 45 minutes you’ll be enjoying a warm slice of whole grain bread. This bread is excellent toasted. I’ve been enjoying a hearty slice every morning with a spread of almond butter and a dollop of berry jam.
Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
3 cups (16 ounces) white whole-wheat flour
1 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup wheat bran
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1 /2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 8-inch round cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add buttermilk and stir with a rubber spatula until flour is moistened and dough forms a soft, ragged ball. Transfer to counter and shape into a 6-inch round (surface with be ragged). Using a serrated knife, cut 1/2-inch deep cross about 4 inches long on top of loaf. Transfer to pan. Bake until lightly browned and center registers 185 degrees, about 40-45 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Note: Baking soda gives this bread it’s distinct flavor. It adds a tang and slightly salty flavor unique to Irish soda bread. If you have a food scale, I suggest weighing the flour.
For even quicker bread: If you replace the buttermilk with 1/2 cup of powdered buttermilk, you can combine all of the ingredients in a zip-lock bag and freeze. When ready to use, simply transfer to a mixing bowl, add 2 cups of water and follow as directed.
Recipe is modified from Cook’s Illustrated Irish Brown Soda Bread.