Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

So apparently today is St. Patrick’s Day. Where I grew up, St. Patrick’s Day was barely even mentioned – you were supposed to wear green to school to avoid being pinched but that was it. Then I moved to New York City, aka a city with a St. Patty’s Day parade, and St. Patrick’s Day has become One of the Worst Days of the Year – at least it is if you’re trying to get anywhere in midtown Manhattan.

Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

That damn parade can mess up a commute like nobody’s business. Last year I had to walk an extra four blocks (yes I counted) and take an extra twenty minutes I didn’t have to spare to get around the roadblocks and fight through the crowds. I got so annoyed that I found myself inwardly fuming about why we are celebrating a country that has been so historically backwards about marriage equality and birth control. I got myself so worked up I had to go play with kittens to calm down (true story, I used to volunteer at an animal shelter).

Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

In my purely personal opinion, the one redeeming quality of St. Patrick’s Day for those of us living in A City with a Parade who don’t identify with the Irish spirit is soda bread. I never had this as a kid, probably because no one in Dallas suburbs seemed to give a rat’s backside about the holiday, but I’m extremely happy to have discovered it in adulthood.

Soda bread seems to be the cause of many arguments – do you put raisins in there or not, that kind of thing – but it seems that most can and will happily forgive a little “experimentation” if the spirit of soda bread is left alone. I found this recipe for adding cheddar and dill – I made sure I used a good Irish cheddar – and everyone seemed to love it. It may not be completely authentic, but it’s delicious!

Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day if you celebrate it, and for the rest of us, may we not get pinched, trampled, or too inconvenienced by parades. Enjoy!

Source: The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Ellen Brown

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tbs granulated sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 ½ cups buttermilk
1 large egg
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
1 ¼ cups shredded sharp Irish cheddar, divided

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F and generously grease a 12” cast iron skillet with cooking spray or softened butter.
Combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Combine the butter, buttermilk, and egg in another bowl and whisk well.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. The dough will be sticky. Stir in the dill and 1 cup cheese. Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet, smoothing the top but mounding it slightly in the center with lightly floured hands. Cut a large X about 1 inch deep in the center of the dough, then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of all four quarters.
Bake the bread in the center of the oven for 70 to 75 minutes, or until the crust is browned and a toothpick or cake tester in inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the bread in the skillet for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

5 responses to “Dilled Irish Cheddar Soda Bread

  1. This bread looks so good!

  2. It is so true! I am still not big on celebrating but I had planned to make my husband dill and cheese bread…. Now I have to switch over to this soda bread!!

  3. Yum! Dill and cheese in bread is always a good idea. My way of celebrating St. Patricks day is to drink a Guinness 🙂

  4. LOVE that you added dill to this!

  5. First of all, you had me at “dill”. I love it in just about everything, and that includes this bread! Second, I used to live in the DC area and work downtown. You want to talk about regularly being held up? Yeah. Between protests, parades and motorcades, it was nearly a certainty that your commute was going to be interrupted by SOMETHING. Sometimes, even lunch time got interesting. We regularly had protesters outside of our building (there was a lobbying firm in there that people apparently hated) so we were forever having to side step that just to get lunch. Ah, the big city life. LOL

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