My Sourdough Irish Soda Bread is a twist on the classic. It has all the flavour of traditional soda bread with extra tang from the sourdough starter.
Hi everyone and hello March! Mad that it’s March already! What’s your weather been like? Here we had about 2 days which felt Spring like, then it got super cold, we had a couple of frosts and now it’s been raining for 3 days straight. It feels like Winter again!
I’ve had a seriously busy and overwhelming last week. The kittens are still keeping us on our toes. They are so sweet and funny though. Still coming out of their shells and into everything. They sleep between my husband and I every night and Ember wakes me up by purring in my face and meowing for strokes every morning. We can’t believe how much they’ve grown since we got them! They’re three months old now and starting to look like mini cats, rather than kittens.
Over the weekend we went out for a meal with my family. We tried a new restaurant near us. It’s taken two months to get a table as it’s always so busy and we’re a big group. During the meal it came up again how certain people only ring when you’re of use, as, quelle surprise, it happened again. It’s amusing how it continues to prove right, what I said years ago about only getting in contact if you want something fixed. Not here for it, none of us are anymore.
On Tuesday, one of my friend’s came over, which was nice. We’ve not been able to see each other much because of the pandemic. Then she hurt her back and I was recovering from blood clots and unable to drive.
Talking of clots, I finally got my test results on Monday. I had a test in January, which had to be sent away to a lab in Oxford to look for hereditary blood disorders. I felt totally calm all morning, which is strange for me. However, 20 minutes before the appointment, the anxiety rolled right in!
It was not good news. But, we now have a cause, which is good because I had none of the usual risk factors for getting such huge, life threatening clots.
I have to have another test in April, sent to the same lab for testing. To get an official diagnosis, I have to have at least two tests, 12 weeks apart. It seems we are going down the route of it being an autoimmune disorder where my immune system wrongfully creates antibodies, which attack healthy tissues and make my blood more “sticky”. I’m extremely high risk for more clots forming because of this and will probably be on blood thinners for life.
It’s scary, I was shell shocked after the phone call. But, I had a little cry and then felt ready to continue fighting. It’s not something I would choose to have, but these are the cards I’ve been dealt. So I’m going to try and enjoy my life as much as possible.
LET’S TALK ALL THINGS SOURDOUGH IRISH SODA BREAD!
My mum was trying for ages to make a sourdough starter, her first couple of attempts didn’t go too well. However, she now has a healthy starter and she separated it to give some to us. I’m doing pretty well at keeping it alive at the moment and the loaves of bread we get from it are delicious!
I had a thought the other day that I wonder what other things you can make with sourdough starter or discard. Turns out, you can make a whole host of delicious things with your sourdough starter!
Pancakes, brownies, cakes, scones, Sourdough Irish Soda Bread… the list is almost endless! I had no idea there was such an array of things you could use it for!
I developed an Irish Soda Bread recipe a while back and I’ve made it SO many times. My husband and I adore it. I love how easy soda bread is, so I thought, why not try and make Sourdough Irish Soda Bread?
A quick note: everyone has a different idea on sourdough starter. I can only say what works for me: I feed my starter 50g of plain flour and 50g of filtered water a day. To make this recipe, I took what I needed from my starter BEFORE its daily feed. This is the discard. You discard some to keep the starter fresh and the acidity levels correct.
Using sourdough starter discard in your Irish Soda Bread doesn’t mean you omit the buttermilk completely. You just reduce it. My traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe uses 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. For the sourdough version, I used 8oz/225g of sourdough starter and 2/3 cup of buttermilk.
Replacing some of the buttermilk with sourdough discard creates a sort of hybrid. It has the tang of a sourdough loaf and the texture and taste of traditional Soda Bread.
I wasn’t sure if the sourdough would be overpowering or taste a little funky with raisins in a semi-sweet bread. However, I had no need to worry. It does add another layer to the flavours, but it works amazingly to create this addictive quick bread you will make again and again.
I love the fact that this recipe requires no kneading or resting. You just make the dough in a bowl, tip onto a pan, shape, score and bake. These loaves look rustic and homely and are perfect served with butter and jam.
If you wanted a savoury version, you could take the sugar amount down to 2tbsp and omit the raisins. This Sourdough Irish Soda Bread is great toasted or at room temperature. My husband is already asking when I can make more!
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Sourdough Irish Soda Bread
- 3 1/2 cups (490g) plain/all-purpose flour
- 5 tbsp caster sugar* (see note)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 stick (56g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 cup (164g) raisins* (see note)
- 1 large egg
- 8 oz (225g) sourdough starter discard, I feed mine daily with 50g flour and 50g filtered water. I fed my starter the day before making this soda bread, then used 8oz of it before feeding for that day.
- 2/3 cup (160ml) buttermilk, depending on your flour brand, you may need a couple of tbsp extra buttermilk. Only add enough for the dough to come together into one big, non sticky ball of dough.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F and line a baking tray with grease proof paper/a silicone mat.
- Place the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, salt and butter into a large bowl. Either use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, or use a pastry cutter. I find a pastry cutter much quicker and easier. You're looking for a breadcrumb texture. It won't be coarse, since there isn't a lot of butter to flour.
- Add in the raisins, if using. Then add the egg and sourdough starter. Stir until the mixture starts to come together, then add the buttermilk slowly. You may not need all of the buttermilk, I did. Sometimes (with different flour brands), you may need less or a couple of tbsp more.
- Continue to bring everything together until you have one large ball of dough, which has come away from the sides of the bowl and isn't overly sticky.
- Tip the dough onto your prepared tray and shape into a 9-10 inch round loaf. You want a domed top which will be around 4 inches tall.
- Take a bread knife and cut a line around 1 inch deep from top to bottom and then left to right. Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until risen, golden all over and it feel hollow when you tap it. Mine took 37 minutes.
- Leave the soda bread to cool down for at least 40 minutes before digging in. It is delicious straight from the oven, but it won't slice nicely!
- Once completely cool, store in an airtight bag, at room temperature, for up to a week. Sourdough Irish Soda Bread is great at room temperature or toasted, served with butter or jam.