In love with Soda Bread!

Monday and Tuesday I tried my hand at Irish Soda Bread. What a treat! It’s so quick and easy to make and the results are astonishingly good. It’s a wonder why anyone bothers with yeast breads with all of their steps and finicky rises, etc.

The first recipe I tried was a simple White Soda Bread. It came together very quickly – no kneading, no rising, no punching – just roll it up into a simple ball:

It looked rather like a brain sculpture… Here’s what it looked like after about 30 minutes cooking:

Very nice texture and flavor:

Since that loaf was so easy and rewarding, I decided to stretch my legs. Much of what I read about soda bread is its versatility, i.e. you can do most anything with it – make it sweet or savory, simple or complex. I had been thinking about making an olive bread for a while so that’s what the soda bread became.
I started with the Irish Soda Bread recipe from Ina Garten which was for a somewhat sweet, albeit traditional Irish, loaded with currants. For my loaf, I substituted 3 oz chopped green olives plus 2 Tbsp basil pesto for her sugar and currants.

The second recipe wasn’t all that different from the first except the dough was much wetter, probably because of the butter and the addition of pesto (loaded with olive oil). This meant that the resulting loaf was much larger and fluffier which was simply outstanding – so flavorful!

It must have been good – my wife took it to work with her and she already asked me to share the recipe 🙂