Saturday, March 18, 2017

Mid-Atlantic Soda Bread

This is an interpretation of King Arthur Flour's Irish Soda Bread recipe, which they themselves admit is not a totally traditional Irish version. Instead, they lighten it up a bit with egg and a touch of sugar and also add in currants or raisins.
I have taken this adapted version and changed it further to suit our tastes (and the fact that I don't really have white flour in the house) and called it Mid-Atlantic lest someone deride me for not being a purist.
For some reason I always think that soda bread has oats in it and so I'd decided to add some. For the white bread flour in KA's recipe, I use a mix of oat flour (simply rolled oat I put in the coffee grinder) and spelt. I also use dried tart cherries because we like those better than raisins and I never have currants around. I increased the quantity to 3/4 cup to ensure a bit of cherry in every bite.
Finally, I switched the mixing method to the food processor to make things as simple as possible.
The resulting loaf is properly craggy but also tender and tasty.

276 g flour from hard red wheat berries
75 g flour from whole grain spelt
75 g flour from rolled or steel cut oats
3 TBSP sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp table salt
4 TBSP butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 c dried tart cherries, currants or raisins
1 1/3 c buttermilk or plain yogurt or kefir or a mix of whey and milk
1 egg


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease an 8 or 9 inch cake pan (to help the loaf keeps its shape). I just used a bit of cooking spray
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flours, sugar, soda and salt and pulse to combine
  3. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is in pea sized lumps
  4. Add the dried fruit and pulse a few more times so that it makes slightly smaller pieces
  5. Crack the egg into the buttermilk (I just do this all in the glass measuring jug) and lightly beat
  6. Pour the wet mixture through the feed tube of the food processor while pulsing until combined
  7. Leaving the batter in the bowl, give it a stir to ensure the buttermilk isn't in the center, then let rest for 5-10 minutes. This is because whole grain flour takes longer to absorb liquid and ensures you won't end up adding too much extra flour
  8. At the end of the rest, turn out the batter onto a lightly floured board or counter and knead a few times, adding a bit more buttermilk if it's too crumbly to hold together or a bit more flour if it's super sticky
  9. Make a large round loaf and flatten slightly. Place in the cake pan and cut a large X or cross in the loaf
  10. Bake for 40-55 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out basically clean. Using convection it was about 45 minutes for me
  11. Remove loaf from oven and turn out from pan. Cool completely before slicing, as hard as that is. I like to cut into quarters, following the X and then make little wedges from there.
  12. Enjoy as-is or with butter or jam. Extra nice with a cup of tea

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