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With about five minutes of prep involved (and no rise time at all), it’s startling easy, yet an impressive addition to any St. Patrick’s Day feast. So if you’re heading to a St. Patty’s party, volunteer to bring the soda bread and give one of these recipes a try. You might find that one of these breads — from cheddar and herb to gluten-free —becomes part of your year-round recipe rotation.
1. Irish cheddar and herb soda bread: If you’re having beef stew or corned beef and cabbage for dinner, this cheddar-herb soda bread from Los Angeles-based pastry chef and food writer Nicole Weston would pair beautifully with it. Bonus points for seeking out real Irish cheddar cheese for the recipe and Irish butter to spread on the bread while still warm.
2. Sweet Irish soda bread: Some gripe that soda bread is too dry — if that’s your concern, try this almost cake-like bread from Colleen Kennedy. She’s half Irish herself, but the foundation for her recipe actually came from an Italian relative. You can use buttermilk in place of the cream, she notes, but U.S. milk doesn’t have quite the fat content that Irish milk does, she notes, hence her addition of heavy cream, which adds moisture and richness.
4. Gluten-free Irish soda bread: To pull off a delicious soda bread without wheat or other gluten sources, gluten-free guru Rachelle King opted to develop a savory recipe, which incorporates ingredients like pearl onions, which add moisture. When baking gluten free, ensure measurements are precise, she says — scoop your flour into measuring cups and don’t pack it in, for example. And don’t over-knead, she adds — she only kneaded this bread six to eight times.
5. Traditional Irish soda bread: Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the classic version. If you want to try the real-deal, check out this third-generation recipe that chef John Mooney, of Bell Book & Candle in New York City and Bidwell in Washington, D.C., shared with TODAY.com. The chef is 100 percent Irish, and the recipe was handed down from his grandmother, to his mother, to him. Make it with just the raisins, just the caraway, or both, he says: “However your taste buds sway you.”
This article was originally published Mar. 10, 2015 at 3:34 p.m. ET.