Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread is wonderful breakfast bread that is so easy you can make it in the morning and have it hot out of the oven and ready for breakfast time. It takes about 10 minutes to mix and 35-40 minutes in the oven. It tastes similar to scones, but is so much simpler to make and slightly healthier because there is no sugar and not a lot of fat.

(American) Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread is a quick bread, which means baking soda is used as the leavening agent instead of yeast.

Now, I was going to give a brief history of Irish soda bread but there seems to be a lot of conflicting beliefs about how and why Irish soda bread was made and apparently some of my ingredients (like baking powder and eggs) make this recipe unauthentic, sooooo...I'm just going to give you the recipe that my mom gave to me (which she says she got from the San Jose Mercury News) and that all my friends in the U.S. say tastes great and moist.


1/4 cup rolled oats (for sprinkling on the baking sheet)
1 1/2 cups dried currents
*if the currents have dried out too much (if they're hard), rinse them with hot water to soften and drain or pat dry with paper towels
4 cups unbleached (organic) flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 buttermilk
3 tbs butter, melted
1 large (organic, cage free) egg

Preheat oven to 375. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet, or lightly coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and currants.

In another bowl, combine buttermilk, melted butter and egg with a whisk.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir, just to moisten.
Or mix together with a plastic pastry scraper (can be bought at Sur La Table for about $4, see image below) folding the ingredients together, inside the bowl.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until the sticky dough comes together (about 3-5 times) Don't over mix or knead. Divide dough into 2 equal portions and shape into two round balls. Place well apart on the baking sheet, which should have the oats sprinkled on it. With a sharp knife, slash an X on the tops about 1/2 - 1 inch deep and extending almost to the edges. Bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Serve hot or cool on a rack.

When I served this to my roommates this weekend, I insisted it tastes best when heated up with butter and/or jam, they then grabbed a cooled piece and ate it plain and said they liked it just the way it was.

plastic pastry scraper— the best baking tool for mixing/folding the dry and wet ingredients together for bread doughs in a mixing bowl.


I wish I could eat my computer screen

Posting more pictures of the home-made croissants I baked last weekend...

first fold

crescent (plain) croissant


More tasty pictures can be seen on my Picasa album.


cheese. cheese. cheese. cheese croissants.

I finally tackled home-made croissants this past Saturday— an all day affair. I have been too intimidated by the whole process for a long time, and finally got my friend to take a croissant class with me about four months ago through Baking Arts teacher, Richard. I knew I could make croissants, but felt it would be easiest to learn great technique from a pro rather than navigate myself through recipe instructions. The hands on teaching approach was definitely the way to go. Not only was the class fun, educational and yummy (we ate croissants throughout the whole lesson), I came away feeling totally confident in making croissants in my own kitchen.

I learned great dough-rolling technique for the delicate yeasted pastry dough, how to mold the butter into a square shape, and how to slice and roll the dough into (almost) flawless crescent shapes.

So four months later, I found myself with an entire day to make croissants and I couldn't have been more happy to spend the cold, overcast day in May in good 'ol San Francisco in my kitchen baking away. I even made my (mom's) famous Banana Bread while the dough rested in the fridge between steps.

Certainly not perfect, but far from failure, I made homemade croissants—plain crescent shaped ones, filled cheesy ones, and cinnamon-sugar twists (from the extra dough).

Check. It. Out.What's better than sharp cheddar wrapped up in a blanket of flaky buttery dough layers?

(Photos uploaded from iPhone. More photos coming soon...)

I'm itching to find a whole day to make them again, because I know they will come out even better, practice makes perfect.


Cookie Pie

I just tried a little twist on those Peanut Butter Cookies from my March 28, 2010 blog. It's beginning to become tradition that I bring a giant Tupperware of cookies up to Chico for my weekend trips, and what quicker way to achieve this the morning before I have to leave for ALUMNI WEEKEND then to just stick all the dough into a spring form pan and bake it all at once, instead of in little cookie batches. Genius...and DElicious.


Follow the original recipe. Place all of the dough into a greased 9 inch Springform pan. Bake at 350 (not 375, like the cookies) for 24-27 minutes.

The best part is, you just pop the springform pan open, slice the cookie like a pizza, throw it in a Tupperware, and your off for the best weekend you'll never remember...