Make this savory yeast free Irish Soda Bread recipe for your St Patrick's Day dinner! It's loaded with cheddar cheese and fresh rosemary and will go perfectly with some slow cooked corned beef!
I hope I don't upset any Irish Soda Bread purists with my savory version. I accept the fact that a traditional Irish soda bread recipe is plain, but who wouldn't love this cheesy version? That flavor combo is a total win-win, and It's yeast free so no worrying about rising!
This was my first time making a savory version. Usually, I'll make soda bread with raisins or cranberries, or even chocolate and pecan. While these sweet versions are super tasty, they don't exactly pair up well with something as awesome as this corned beef and cabbage.
FAQ's about making this Irish soda bread
What kind of cheese is best to use? I added Seriously Sharp Cheddar from Cabot for this and it completely lives up to its name. The cheese and rosemary become speckled through the dough and the smell that fills the kitchen when baking is outrageous. You could use any other medium-hard cheese but the cheddar provides maximum flavor as well as little nuggets of crusty burnt pieces of cheese on the surface of the bread.
What does No Yeast Irish Soda Bread taste like? Irish Soda Bread was a staple in most Irish people's lives in the 1800's. There wasn't a lot of money or ingredients so the bread was made by using baking soda as a leavening agent instead of regular yeast, so this recipe is perfect for a yeast free lifestyle or if you are finding it hard to find Yeast in the store. This created the bread quicker and it was an easier ingredient to have on hand. The problem was that the Irish Soda Bread recipe didn't have much flavor if any. But times have changed and you can find many different versions made with spices and dried fruit. The texture of the soda bread is like a scone or biscuit with a softer interior.
How do I store my Irish Soda Bread? The bread dries out very quickly, so making it on the day that you plan to eat it is important, and you'll love that fresh outer crust and soft interior!
How to make your Irish soda bread rise even more. Don't start mixing the dough until your oven is completely preheated and at baking temperature. The acid from the buttermilk will begin to react with the baking soda as soon as you begin to mix and you don't want to lose all of these bubbles which will help your bread rise.
Can I make my soda bread the day before? I would say no to this question, just because Irish soda bread dries out quickly so by day two the bread would probably be too dry and hard. Also there's nothing like a warm loaf of bread served along with your corned beef and cabbage!
Making your soda bread
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and then add the buttermilk, cheese and rosemary. Stir well until the dough forms.
Knead the dough into a ball shape and use a sharp serrated knife to cut the shape of a cross on top of the soda bread. Bake as directed in the recipe.
I must put my foot down on one thing though guys. Make sure to serve thick slices, slightly warm, with some real butter. Once you've spread the butter on the bread, try sprinkling some extra sea salt on top! I could eat the whole loaf just like this, never mind with corned beef.
Happy St Patrick's Day!