Serious Eats: Recipes

Healthy & Delicious: Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson]

An amalgam of seven different European ethnicities, my siblings and I grew up without a real culinary heritage. If anything, Ma usually made dishes from outside our own hotpot of cultures: goulash, spaghetti and meatballs, etc. The one exception was Irish soda bread.

I like to think she picked it up from her own grandmother, who emigrated to Brooklyn in the early part of the twentieth century. Probably, Ma just found it in a cookbook. Either way, it was tasty—packed with raisins and sweetened with sugar—and at age 12, I wasn't one to question authenticity.

"It's also hardier and more of a quick brown bread than a dessert."

This Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread comes from Eating Well. It's similar to Ma's texturally, in that it's a little dry with a hard crust and soft center. However, it's also hardier and more of a quick brown bread than a dessert. Pairing it with cheddar and/or soup would be sublime, though jam, honey, or butter wouldn't be out of place, either.

To know: the dough comes together in about ten minutes, and requires no real experience with baking. It's about as idiot-proof as bread gets. I should know, as I am that idiot.

Ultimately, it's a bread for everybody, whether you're 100% Irish or only kind of Irish on your mom's side. Served with a pint of Guinness, no one will care anyway.

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