No proofing, no kneading, no waiting to rise… The beauty of Irish soda bread is in its simplicity. Historically, the recipe consisted of four ingredients: whole meal flour, salt, soda, and soured milk. It was the workday bread, plain and simple—a hearty table bread to fill you up for a hard day of work (and we aren’t talking about a cubicle desk job situation). Also, it was used to sop and mop juices from the soups and stews so familiar to Irish fare. Yeast was hard to come by, so this bread relies on the chemical reaction of an acid (cultured milk or buttermilk) and a base (baking soda) which causes the bread to rise without the need for yeast (or the time it takes to wait for yeast to rise).
At some point in history, the ease and convenience of Irish soda bread gained popularity in America, where people immediately began to do what Americans do best with foods… added white flour, sugar, and (sometimes) eggs, making this hearty, healthy loaf into a cake.
Here, we’ve reinstated the whole-grain beauty of this historical bread packed with whole-grain flour, bran, germ, and even steel cut oats. Whole grains are thirsty, so lots of buttermilk keeps this batter nice and saturated—don’t be discouraged by the wet, sticky dough.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we took it a step further with a smattering of matcha yogurt butter. Greek yogurt adds a fluffy, creamy tang to decadent salted butter, while matcha adds earthy, grassy, GREEN beauty to this hearty bread.
Cheers! Now go fill you belly with some of this tasty loaf before you hit the pub. You’ll thank me in the morning.
Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread
2 2/3 cups white whole wheat flour (about 12 ounces)
3/4 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons steel-cut oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk (at room temperature)
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through wheat germ) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Slowly add buttermilk, stirring just until moist. Let sit 15 minutes.
3. Spoon batter into a 9 X 5-inch metal loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool on rack. Slather generously with matcha butter.
SERVES 14 (serving size: 1 slice)
Calories 136; Fat 1.4g (sat 0.3g; mono 0.3g; poly 0.2g); Protein 6g; Carb 24g; Fiber 5g; Total Sugars 3g (est. added sugars 1g); Chol 2 mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 353 mg; Calc 83mg
Matcha Yogurt Butter
2 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; stirring with a whisk until very smooth.
SERVES 6 (serving size: 2 teaspoons)
Calories 37; Fat 3.9g (sat 2.5g; mono 1.0g; poly 0.1g); Protein 0g; Carb 0g; Fiber 0g; Total Sugars 0g (est. added sugars 0g); Chol 10 mg; Iron 0mg; Sodium 35 mg; Calc 4mg
More St. Patrick’s Day Feast Ideas: