Friday, August 3, 2012

Irish Soda Bread - Part 2 (finally)

It seems my blogging intentions have been waylaid by an insistent desire to be lazy about writing. There it is; I’ve been apathetic about writing for so long that thinking about it feels like yet another chore waiting to be done, but a quick look through past posts reminds me that I need to follow up on a few things that got pushed all the way to the back of the cupboard. Time to dig out and finish what I started.

Way back in March I wrote about baking Irish Soda Bread. It was good, but not great. So I experimented and researched and left my mother’s recipe behind. That recipe called for a lot more flour than any other I’ve seen, and instead of buttermilk she used regular milk. That got me a hot brick. The next time I used less flour, but still regular milk. Not quite so dense, but not what I wanted either. Finally, after learning why buttermilk is so important to Soda Bread I made another loaf using vinegar and milk (I didn’t want to buy a quart of buttermilk and have to throw most of it out because, umm, yuck). The bread was delicious and had the right texture and density.

This is what I learned:
  • The acidity of buttermilk is necessary to activate the baking soda. Not adding that acidity will leave the bread dense.
  • You can fake buttermilk by adding one teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to room temperature milk and letting it sit for 15 minutes
  • Fresh, hot bread is the perfect vehicle for loads of fresh, homemade butter.
  • My jeans fit better if I don’t bake bread too often.

Okay, one follow-up post completed. Let’s see how well I do with the next one.


  1. You at you being persistent. Good for you. My aunt used to freeze leftover buttermilk. Measure the amount you need for your recipe into zip bags or some other container.

  2. Bella, that's a great idea! Thanks. Now I won't feel so wasteful buying buttermilk knowing I'll use only a tiny amount.


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