I decided a while back that I loved soda bread way too much to wait for St. Patrick’s Day to make it. Because it has no yeast and requires no kneading or rising time, it’s as fast and easy to make as a sweet quick bread.
The ingredients are simple and you probably have most in the house at all times. But this is going to be one of those times when you’ll need to buy buttermilk, if it isn’t a regular staple in your fridge. The magical combination of the acid in the buttermilk and the baking soda gives this bread its distinctive flavor and texture.
Most of the soda bread loaves I find in the supermarket around St. Patrick’s Day contain raisins but the classic Irish version, dating back to the 1800’s, does not. The traditional bread contains just flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. My favorite version, introduced to me by an Irish friend, contains butter and a little sugar. Additions like raisins, seeds or other dried fruits are Americanized versions. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t delicious. The slightly sweet and buttery bread is the one I make most often but adding cheese and herbs is a close second. The flavors of smoked gouda and fresh thyme are a great combo in most dishes and they make this bread smell amazing. It’s best eaten the day it’s baked but I don’t usually find that to be a problem, if you know what I mean. Enjoy!
Author: Anita Schecter
Smoked Gouda and Thyme Soda Bread
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 1 Hour
Recipe for Irish soda bread flavored with grated smoked gouda cheese and fresh thyme.
- 4 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 Stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 Egg
- 1 1/4 Cups buttermilk
- 1 Cup grated smoked gouda cheese
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground black pepper to a large bowl. Use a large box grater to grate in the cold butter. You can also cut the butter into 1″ pieces and cut it in with a fork or a pastry cutter. Toss with the flour until the butter is incorporated and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the egg and buttermilk into a separate bowl and whisk together. Stir into the flour mixture and add the grated gouda cheese and the fresh thyme. Stir together but note that the dough will be sticky. Toward the end you will need to use your hands and add another tablespoon or two of buttermilk if it feels too dry.
- Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and shape it into approximately a 10″ round. Place it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush with some additional buttermilk.
- With a knife, score an X on top of the loaf and bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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