Tuesdays with Dorie – Irish Soda Bread (+ Challah)

So I went a little off-recipe this week. And I don’t know that it was 100% a good idea. I have only had one other soda bread in my life and it is really delicious, so based on my results, I’d almost say this was a failure. But I think there are a few things I could do to fix it. Now admittedly, it looks very pretty. I mean, I don’t think this is debatable. That looks like a good bread. But taste-wise, I was a little disappointed. This is what happened. I made this bread, challah, and the cheese souffle for French Fridays with Dorie all in one day. Big woo, right? I mean that’s really not a whole lot going on. I had the day off so it’s not like I was fitting it into a busy work schedule or anything, but what happened was I made the challah first. And the challah needed 9-10 cups of flour, pretty much depleting my stock. Why, you ask, did I make challah? I’m not Jewish, even though I’ve been told I “look Jewish” a few times. There are a number of really beautiful Jewish ladies (hello Natalie Portman!) so I take this as a nice compliment. I’ve actually never even had challah before. But I follow this blog called emmycooks and she had done a post on it and the night before this baking extravaganza I had a dream that I was eating just ginormo amounts of bread, so I had to make it. I’m sure you understand. So before I get to the soda bread, let’s talk about the challah.

This is a serious recipe, using massive amounts of flour and requiring 15 minutes of kneading (Madonna arms, here I come!). I don’t know why I was super drawn to doing this, other than the dream. A few months ago, someone asked me a strange question : If you had to eat your way out of a room, what would you want the room to be made of? My answer was bread. Not like Wonderbread, but amazing crusty, tasty bread and I think my dream might have been something like that. When I was younger, I could remember my dreams in super detail, but now I kind of just have impressions.  So anywho, I make this dough and knead it and it first looks like this:

But then after a few hours of just hanging out with Candy and the espresso maker, it looks like this!

I mean, doesn’t that look like you just want to lay your head down on it and take a nap!? It’s so pillowy and huge and awesome! So I was pretty enamored of this whole process and kind of left the soda bread till after and then I realized, “Shit, I do not have 4 cups of flour!” So I had some whole wheat flour and I thought I would do half and half. That seemed like a plan. Also berries were on sale at the store and I had a little half pint of blueberries that needed something to do. So I got all my stuff together while the challah was rising and I was feeling pretty good about things.

And after I mixed everything together I was still feeling like this was a good idea and a nice compromise. I mean, making all my Dorie stuff in one day, plus this other bread and I was making the recipe more healthy? Kudos to me!

Alas, pride cometh before a fall as they say and my bread was not really all that great. Turns out blueberries + buttermilk with no sugar = kind of a tart little bread we’ve got here. I should have definitely added some sugar. In fact, when I slathered a slice with butter and sprinkled a liberal amount of cinnamon sugar on it, it was pretty tasty. Without, it got this review from a friend “tastes like medicine.” Not my best work, to say the least.

But let’s all revel in the beauty of the challah once again, shall we? And if you want to make it, the recipe is here!

If you want to give the soda bread a try and not f*#% it up like me, visit one of our hosts for this week to get the recipe. They did this simple classic some justice, unlike me. Oh well. I hear that lemon loaf cake a’callin my name already and it’s still a few weeks until April. Catch you next time Doristas and hopefully it will be a little more successful!

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20 thoughts on “Tuesdays with Dorie – Irish Soda Bread (+ Challah)

  1. I’ve made soda bread before with sugar in the recipe and it does taste better to me. But then again, I have a sweet tooth! Your soda bread looks pretty and that is half the battle. Will try the challah, there is nothing better than french toast challah.

  2. I loved your Challah…It looks perfect. Your story was fun too. My husband and daughter are bread people so I might have to try it.

    The truth is why make Irish Soda Bread if you have Challah in the house.

  3. Your soda bread looks very nice & crunchy on top! All is never lost- slather with honey or jam…And oh my that challah is too beautiful!! Nice work, girl!

  4. Your breads look beautiful, and I can totally understand why the flavor of the blueberry studded soda bread didn’t taste quite right compared to your gorgeous challah! Sugar oughta fix that next time. 🙂

    Great blog!

  5. The challah looks amazing! Sorry to hear about your soda bread, do give it another go. I left mine plain and only did half the recipe and really enjoyed it.

  6. Wow, both your breads look amazingly delicious!!

    And, if it makes you feel any better, I would’ve thought blueberries would be a tasty addition even without sugar. But I guess it does make sense. Live and learn!

  7. I’ve never made challah but I do love brioche and I think your challah looks absolutely beautiful! Too bad the soda bread didn’t turn out as expected (although it really looks delicious). I wonder if you could turn it into something else, like French toast?

  8. I think dried fruit works better in bread, because the sweetness is concentrated. I used golden raisins and enjoyed the sweetness they added. Your challah is beautiful…I’d choose it over soda bread.

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