So we were having some technical snafus ’round these parts this morning. Sorry. I blame my toddler keeping me up all night. Remember that toddler bed thing? Yeah, Houdini keeps getting out of his room and showing up in mine. It’s totally weird and creepy and NO one is sleeping.
But enough about me! You didn’t come here to hear me complain, you want some FOOD! Right? And tomorrow is St. Patricks Day! A day to drink green beer to excess and eat meat that has been pickled. Hooray!
And as one of the 11.9% of the population who claims Irish heritage, St. Patricks Day has always been a special one for me. My mother always made corned beef and cabbage, potatoes and of course, Irish Soda Bread. But our soda bread was always a little different than the traditional ones that other families made. Probably because my mother HATES raisins or currants and the idea of putting them in her food made her gag. So out went the sweet soda bread, and in went the CHEESE.
Really and truly, how can you go wrong by taking out a delicious fiber-rich fruit and replacing it with artery clogging cheese? Bring on the heart disease! Well, at least for a day, because this bread is amazing. Super rich and dense, with tiger stripes of cheese running throughout it, it’s bread to DIE for. It’s also INSANELY easy to make, as my toddler can attest to, since he made the last batch.
It’s best piping hot right out of the oven, slathered with a little bit more butter, or in the morning for breakfast, toasted up and golden. It’s also really good at soaking up all that green beer in your system. So give it a try for your St. Patty ‘s Day celebration tomorrow!!!
Erin go Bragh! (Or Erin go Bra-less, as my mother always says)
Cheesy Irish Soda Bread
4 Cups Flour
1 TB Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
3/4 Tsp Baking Soda
6 TB Butter
2 Cups Grated Cheddar
1.5 Cups Buttermilk – Don’t have buttermilk? No problem. Check out this page for how to make your own!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a round, 1.5 quart dish, about 3 inches deep. I used a 2 quart glass baking bowl, so you can be a little flexible.
Mix flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a food processor. You don’t have to use one, but it makes it a lot easier when cutting in the butter. Then, cut in butter, until it looks like course meal. Stir in the grated cheese.
Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, setting aside a TB for glazing later. Add the buttermilk to the eggs, then stir the mixture into the dry ingredients.
Once the dough starts to come together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and start kneading. It’s going to be super sticky, so make sure to flour your hands and add more to the dough/board/yourself as needed. Now, KNEAD KNEAD KNEAD! Roll, punch and abuse that dough for a few minutes, until it starts to get smooth and kind of stretchy (these are the glutens activating).
Shape the dough into a ball and add into your greased bowl/dish. Cut a cross in the top of the dough, approximately 1/4 inch deep.
Brush the top of the dough with the reserved egg wash and pop that sucker in the oven for 75 minutes. Yes 75. It will take EVERY bit of that 75 minutes and may even take a little more, depending on your oven/weather/altitude. But at 75 minutes, remove it and test to see if knife comes out clean. Completely clean. If it’s not completely clean, stick it back in the oven for a few more minutes, otherwise your bread is going to be doughy in the middle. Not so nice.
Once the knife comes out clean, cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then turn the bread out onto the rack to cool some more. Eat it while it’s hot and crusty and delicious and then have it for breakfast in the morning. (That’s what I’m doing now!!)