This multigrain Irish soda bread is hearty and completely satisfying warm, with a melty pat of butter. Maybe not easier than putting green food coloring in everything, but a close second to make you feel a little more Irish on St. Patrick’s day.
I am Irish American. Chicago Irish (guys, they dye their river green) to be more precise. Half Irish and half dutch to be even more precise. My family has reminded me of my heritage since the day I was born. But there is really nothing about my dashing good looks that would give away that I’m Irish. Well, besides my pasty skin tone. I have really dark brown eyes and hair. My frame is much more like my Dutch half. No freckles. I can get a nice tan when there is sun. But Irish blood runs deep through (half of) my veins. And Irish pride, as a result, does as well.
Every St. Patrick’s day my mom made us corned beef with boiled cabbage and potatoes (or sometimes mashed potatoes that were dyed green) along with some Irish soda bread. Now that I have my own family, I want to continue the tradition. To remember our history.
Minute Soda Bread History
Soda bread is a quick bread that is leavened with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and soured milk (buttermilk). It is easy to make and can be thrown together in a little under an hour. It’s the “shit, I need bread now but I don’t have time” bread. It’s poor people bread. For those who couldn’t afford yeast throughout the Irish Potato Blight. Traditionally, soda bread is made with very soft flour. This multigrain Irish soda bread is not like that. I use hard flours creating a nutty, robust loaf.
I have made the “Rye Soda Bread” recipe from the “Supernatural Every Day” cookbook by Heidi Swanson numerous times. And while I like the health factor of a fully loaded rye bread, I much prefer using a small amount of rye flour for a hint of flavor and more whole wheat. I use this local heirloom, red fife wheat by Maplewood Grange.
This bread is is hearty and rich, but still super moist and bursting with flavor. Hey I love tradition, but I’m also an individualist American.
How to Make Multigrain Irish Soda Bread
First, you will measure out your dry ingredients (flours, baking soda, salt). The chefs in culinary school beat into me the practice of using a scale. But this bread is not fussy, so you can definitely use regular old measuring cups. Mix it all together with a fork.
Next, pour in buttermilk, oil, and chopped chives. Mix everything together gently with a wooden spoon until just combined. When the flour is wet, stop mixing. Over mixing the batter will activate the gluten resulting in a tougher soda bread.
Place the dough on a floured (rice flour) or parchment papered baking sheet or oiled cast iron. I like using my cast iron because a) my cast iron is my baby and b) it gives a nice crispy crust. You can kind of shape it and mold it to be a nice circle. Soda bread dough is supposed to look a little messy, so don’t worry. Sprinkle the dough with rice flour. Rice flour works well here because it 1) prevents sticking better and 2) it looks really pretty on top of the dough once it’s baked and gives that nice, bright, white finish. Use a fine mesh strainer to shake the flour evenly over the dough.
With a sharp knife, I used a serrated knife, cut the top of the dough into 8’s. You will make a total of 4 cuts. First into quarters. Then cut diagonally to split the quarters into eight. You want to cut 1/3 of the way down into the dough. Don’t worry, the dough will stick to your knife.
Bake in a hot oven for 40 minutes.
Cool slightly, slather with butter or an onion marmalade or both, and eat!
This bread is hearty, delicious, easy and savory. Serve with an Irish stew and this beer cocktail. Or you can serve it for breakfast St. Patty’s morning with some eggs and white pudding (if you can find it).
The best part of this bread, is that it is an easy bread you can eat all year round. It goes with everything. I’m thinking about creating a recipe of savory french toast with it. What do you think? Sounds good?
Everyone’s Irish on March 17
How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Do you wear green (or orange) and pinch all your friends who didn’t? Parade drunkenly through Chicago along the green Chicago River? Do you make your favorite Irish treat: Colcannon, Bailey’s, Bangers and Mash, Corned Beef and Cabbage? Or maybe you go to church to celebrate the venerated Saint. Share your favorite memory of St. Patrick’s Day in the comments below. And if you make me laugh you get extra credit.
When you make this Multigrain Irish Soda Bread, let me know how it goes! Rate the recipe and share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Use the hashtag #popkitchen when you post photos of recipes you’ve made to your Instagram and tag @pop_kitch. I’ll share my favorite photos on POP KITCHEN’s account.
- 1¾ cup (231 g) All-purpose Flour
- 2 cups (254 g) Red Fife Flour or Whole Wheat Flour
- ⅓ cup (112 g) Rye flour (dark or light is fine)
- 1¾ tsp (11 g) baking soda
- 2 tsp (13.1 g) fine sea salt
- 2 cups buttermilk (either low fat or full fat will do)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup chives, finely minced
- Rice flour, for dusting. You can use all-purpose flour if you don't have rice flour around the house.
- Put on the Album "Pressure" by Irish, hip-hop artist Simi Crowns. He is an African born artist raised in Ireland who addresses the countries long struggle with racism. He challenges the idea of what it means to be Irish while bringing the rhymes and danceable beat.
- Heat the oven to 400 F/200 C/6 gas.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda and sea salt.
- Add Wet Ingredients: Make a little well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk, oil and chives. Mix together with a wooden spoon until no dry spots remain. Do not over mix.
- Shape Dough: You can do one of three things. 1. Heavily sprinkle a baking sheet with rice flour. 2. Use parchment paper. 3. Add a tablespoon of oil to a cast iron skillet. I used the oil and skillet method. Place the dough on your surface and shape it to a nice round.
- Cut Dough: First, sprinkle the dough using a fine mesh strainer with a generous amount of rice flour. Using a serrated or sharpe knife, cut ⅓ of the way down into the dough. First into quarters and then diagonally into eighths. The dough will stick to your knife but it will look fine in the end.
- Bake: Place in on a rack in the middle of the oven and make for 40 minutes. The bread should be very golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving with way too much butter.