I know this isn’t a cooking blog, but that’s probably because I rarely cook new things. That doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t want to! St. Patrick’s Day this past week reminded me that I once had Irish soda bread at someone’s house on St. Patty’s and I’ve always wanted to have it again. Well, hey, I can make it!

Mule‘s client Serious Eats posted several recipes for soda bread this week so I had my pick to choose from. Fully intended to do the whole wheat one, but ended up making the plain version (explained below) of Spotted Dog since that way I didn’t have to go out for groceries. It’s that elementary.

Homemade Irish Soda BreadMy version left out the raisins, used only half a teaspoon of sugar (for just a hint of sweetness) and substituted milk & vinegar for buttermilk since Casey’s allergic.

I was nervous about this project since a) I’ve never made bread before (unless you count banana bread, which I don’t since my/my mother’s version is more like banana cake) and b) I was trying to replicate something I’d tasted years ago (i.e. vague recollections) and really liked (i.e. high expectations). I got REALLY nervous when the dough got all clumpy on me when I mixed in the liquids – I was convinced I’d messed something up royally. But it joined together again when I rolled the ball of dough in flour, even if it did make the whole thing more solid since I kept trying to pat it together. The next version might come out more airy. But then it rose nicely in the oven and the smell of fresh bread permeated my house and I was happy.

Plus it tastes great. Of the cheeses we paired it with for a light dinner, the aged gouda was the winner for me (the sharp cheddar was supposed to be perfect with it, but perhaps my version of the bread was too sweet for cheddar). Goes nicely with a glass of pinot and avocado salad. Will probably be just as good with nutella and/or jam tomorrow morning.

Verdict: One of those nice cheap luxuries you can get from basic household staples. If I can make it, anyone can!

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