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Irish Soda Bread

We became passionate about freshly baked Irish soda bread after being introduced to it by a lovely lady called Caroline Tod. Her bread has a moist, nutty wheatiness with a dense, slightly sweet crumb and crunchy crust. It is really, really yummy. It has bags more flavor than normal bread and goes perfectly with cheese, soup, marmalade…we could go on. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make and seems to keep for a week without becoming stale or dry. She has very kindly given us her recipe.–Wild at Heart

LC A Schmear Of This, A Schmear Of That Note

It’s sorta hard to ignore when one of our recipe testers says something is “crazy easy to make.” Or that it’s “super simple.” Or even that it’s “lovely on its own”. So we don’t ignore those types of comments, and we certainly don’t think you should, either. Especially regarding this Irish soda bread, which has a subtle sweetness that makes it, yes, lovely on its own but also a darn good platform for a schmear of this, a schmear of that, a schmear of just about anything, actually, whether butter or peanut butter or honey or preserves (mmmmm, marmalade!) or soft cheese or, well, you tell us. Kindly let us know in a comment below.

Irish Soda Bread with Walnuts Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • Mild vegetable oil, for the baking sheet or pan
  • 2 cups (about 7 ounces) walnut halves or pieces
  • Scant 4 cups (1 pound) whole wheat flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 tablespoon demerara or light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups (18 ounces) plain yogurt (do not substitute Greek yogurt), plus more as needed

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and lightly oil either a baking sheet (if you prefer to make a free-form, traditional round loaf) or a loaf pan (if you’d rather a more contemporary rectangular loaf).
  • 2. Blitz half the walnuts in a food processor until you have a coarse powder. Chop the remaining walnuts into largish chunks. Place all the walnuts in a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and mix well to ensure the baking soda is evenly dispersed.
  • 3. Stir in 2 cups yogurt and gently combine, mixing first with a whisk or wooden spoon and then switching to your hands, until a soft dough forms. The dough will be a shaggy mess, but bring the ingredients together as best you can, being careful not to knead the dough as this bread benefits from being handled as little as possible. [Editor's Note: Different yogurts have different moisture contents. We found that depending on the yogurt used, you may need to work the dough a little more than you expect or you may even need to add a few tablespoons or even up to 1/2 cup more yogurt. We made this bread with low-fat as well as full-fat yogurt, and each turned out fine. Just don't use Greek yogurt.]
  • 4. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. If you’re going to bake it in a loaf tin, form the bread into a log shape and drop it into the tin. If you’re going to bake it in the traditional round, form it into a ball, place it on the oiled baking sheet, and score a deep cross into the top using a sharp knife.
  • 5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the loaf is well risen and browned. Let the bread cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes—if, that is, you can manage to keep your hands off it for that long.
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