Cheap Eats at Bloglander

3/17/08 | Irish Soda Bread

[ Currently Eating: Leftover Corned Beef ]

Happy St. Patty’s everyone. You know what – it has been a Long, Long, Longass Time™ since we had a $3 Or Less Recipe here on Cheap Eats. The thing is, they’re so much work to write up. And what with all the calculating and the hordes of folks writing in to tell me I’ve gotten the price of 2 ounces of cake flour wrong (you would not believe the number of people who majored in Advanced Recipe Calculus in college), it’s just very discouraging. That’s why I’ve steered clear of them for awhile.

But today, since it’s St. Patrick’s, I’m going to borrow the new recipe my wife tried out to make Irish Soda Bread the other day. This is also her picture below.

Irish Soda Bread  Cheap Eats at Bloglander

She decided to make it because my family was having us over for Corned Beef and Cabbage and we didn’t have anything to bring. Here’s the basic recipe used. And please (for my sanity) remember, the dang prices are estimated. I can barely use a calculator as it is.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour — $0.35
3 tbsp sugar — $0.10
1 tsp baking soda — $0.05
1 tbsp baking powder — $0.08
1/2 cup butter, softened — $0.90
(plus extra for brushing)
1 cup buttermilk — $0.35
(plus extra for brushing)
1 egg — $0.15
1/2 tsp salt (negligible)

Total: $1.98

Get the oven to 375F and grease a baking sheet. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl. You can use margarine instead of butter if you like.

Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and the egg so that you make a soft dough. You might need more (or less) buttermilk to make it right. Put some flour on a board and dump the dough onto it. Knead it slightly. Try not to overknead it, it gets tough otherwise. Shape it into a round loaf and put it on the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut a cross onto the top.

Melt some butter and add it to the extra buttermilk. Brush the top of the loaf well with that mixture. Pop it into the oven for 45 min or so. Do the toothpick trick to see if it’s done: poke a toothpick into the center. Comes out clean, then it’s ready.

So, although it came out amazingly well for a first time try this is definitely not a “traditional” irish soda bread per se. I think it doesn’t have the egg and not even the butter or baking powder. I actually liked it better with those ingredients though, especially the butter. We cut the sugar down a bit.

Did you know there is a Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread? I kid you not. This is probably the place to go if you want to find out how to make authentic bread.

The taste and texture of the soda bread to me is very much like a scone. I rather liked it, crumbly and with the outside slightly crunchy. Since this is not a yeast bread – it doesn’t have to rise. And to me, it just seems a lot less complicated. We were rather pleased that with such simple ingredients (the only one we don’t keep on hand is the buttermilk) we were able to turn out a half decent loaf of bread. It wasn’t fussy. You just mix it together, knead it a bit and form it into a loaf.

I ate it plain but I’ve heard you can spread some jam or sweet butter on it. Oh, one tip that seemed to work for us: you can wrap the bread in a cheesecloth or clean dishtowel after you bake it to stop the crust from being extra hard.

Price: $1.98
Cheap Eats Score: 8/10

7 Responses to “Irish Soda Bread”

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  1. Justin Says:

    I normally don’t like Irish soda bread, the recipes I’ve ad always seemed to dense and just lacking in flavor. But the addition of butter would defiantly add to the flavor department, and the baking powder would act with the baking soda for that one-two punch in the lift department. Sounds worth trying with the huge amounts of left over corned beef.

  2. Bree Says:

    Yum! Looks good and cheap! Thanks!

  3. Nana Says:

    This is exactly what my fiance would love! I can’t wait to try out the recipe. The only question I have is, is the 3 T of sugar the already reduced amount, or did you reduce it further?

  4. jain Says:

    I like the extra-crunchy crust! The one I had contained raisins, delicious spread with butter.

  5. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    justin – i used some of the leftover corned beef to try and make corned beef hash. it came out ok, but it didn’t really “stick” together and was more dry. It beat the kind that comes out a can though =)

    bree – you’re welcome!

    nana – the 3 Tbsp of sugar is the reduced amt – it called for 4 Tbsp. i might have even went 2 tbsp because i don’t eat as much sweet things. There are a ton of recipes out there, we just picked a random one and got lucky.

    jain – i think we’ll probably try put some raisins or dried cranberries in the next one we make – I understand that means its not Irish soda bread, but rather “cake”? but if it tastes good, i’m fine w/ it.

  6. marci Says:

    Corned Beef hash is typically minced so fine that it’s almost ground, and in fact if you have a meat grinder or a food processor you can do better w/ this than using a knife. Also, you should bind the beef, onion and potatoes w/ some milk, broth or cream. I guarantee, it’s worth the effort!!

  7. Darrin Says:

    This looks like it would go good with so many dishes! I’ll have to try it out after my month long break from bread!!



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