Irish Soda Bread

Guess what!?

I’m off to Ireland this evening! David and I are going to spend 10 days driving, hiking, exploring and photographing all over the country. I can’t wait to tell you all about it when we get back, but for now I will leave you with this recipe I made in preparation for my trip: Irish Soda Bread!

Soda bread is a quick bread that uses baking soda (hence the name) instead of yeast as a rising agent. It is an easy bread to make, since there is barely any kneading (10 times!) and no waiting for it to rise or anything; just mix and bake. It became popular in Ireland when baking soda was brought there and is still popular today.

When this first came out of the oven I thought I did something wrong, because it was kinda lumpy and ugly looking. But then I google-imaged Irish soda bread and I realized that it’s supposed to look like that!

So see you all in 10 days, and until then you have Jessica to keep you company. Don’t fret, she has a lot of interesting duck recipes for you!

Irish Soda Bread from Food & Wine


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Whisk all of the dry ingredients together.
  3. Add the buttermilk and cooled butter and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is well combined.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it 10 times.
  5. Shape it dough into a 9-inch round loaf and transfer to a baking sheet. Slash an X about 1/4 inch deep in the top of the bread.
  6. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the bread is golden and the bottom sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread + Chipless Pumpkin Muffins

I got a pumpkin from my CSA! It’s a baby bear pumpkin, how cute is that! I had all sorts of ideas of things to do with this pumpkin, but since it was so little I had to limit the pumpkin recipes. I ended up roasting the seeds to make bizir and then getting about two cups of puree. With one cup I made this pumpkin bread and I froze the other cup with intentions to turn it into ice cream soon.

This chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipe has been in our family for ages. We have been making it at least once a year for as long as I can remember, always from fresh pumpkin. Jessica has the original copy of the recipe, which I’m pretty sure is a photocopy of a recipe that my mom used to use in her nursery school class. After going apple and pumpkin picking with her class she would always bring us a pumpkin to bake with; don’t we have the best mom!

I have memories of freezing the extras and being happily surprised a few months later to find pumpkin bread hiding among the ice cream in the back of the freezer somewhere. I think I’ll freeze some of this and then try to forget about it so I can find it later.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the recipe is pareve? No need for adaptation here! Just make sure to use pareve chocolate chips (duh!). Because I thought I had in my freezer, but they ended up being dairy, which is why I made the muffins chipless (yeah, that’s a word).

Luckily, I just got another baby bear pumpkin from my csa! Maybe I will make pumpkin pie! And ravioli! Maybe some soup or risotto, too! I think I may be getting carried away, but for some reason the fresh stuff is so much better than the canned kind. I know it’s pure pumpkin, but why is it so orange?

Here’s a copy of our handwritten recipe for you:

Pain de Campagne

I made this bread one Friday afternoon in lieu of challah. The Pain De Campagne recipe (pdf) came with my weekly CSA email the second time we got oregano. The first time we got it I dried my bunch, so this time I decided to use it all up in bread, as suggested. Continue reading

Rye Bread

I love baking breads, and wanted to venture away from the boring white breads, whole wheat breads, challahs, and sticky buns. I wanted bread with flavor, something that wasn’t simple, and something that would definitely impress visitors (because really, anyone can make white bread).

When I decided on rye bread, I thought I was set. I wrote up a shopping list and was ready to try it the next day. But no rye flour at Shop Rite, no rye flour at Whole Foods, and no rye flour on Fresh Direct. I couldn’t even find a normal amount on Amazon! I thought I would never make rye bread…I finally went to Westside Market on my way to class one night and found some Bob’s Red Mill dark rye flour. Perfect! I thought about baking this bread during class and on my train ride home. I woke up early the next day and got to work. I continued working, and then worked even more, up until I had to leave for class the next night! Continue reading

Knead Not Sourdough


Alton made bread in his dutch oven. I had to make bread in my dutch oven, too! It’s actually a very easy bread to make, perfect for beginner bread makers. Why? There’s no kneading! You just have to wait a really really long time for it to rise. Like 19 hours, and then 15 minutes, and then another 2 to 3 hours. It was worth it in the end. It was really yummy. I love homemade bread.

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Skillet Corn Bread


I’ve made corn bread and corn muffins before, but with my new cast iron skillet obsession, I knew I had to make some in there. The skillet is meat, so I had to find a recipe that I could make pareve.

I decided on a recipe with buttermilk and used rice dream with a drop of vinegar in it. The buttermilk you buy in the store isn’t real buttermilk, anyway, so why not just acidify some milk substitute? (This is real buttermilk.)

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Amish White Bread

I decided that instead of buying bread made with high fructose corn syrup I would make my own. How hard could that be? It happened to be very easy, until it came time to shape the loaves; the first time I made them they looked a little funny, but the bread tasted great! It was such a simple recipe, and made two loaves. I made sandwiches with one for an entire week and froze the other. That was a while ago, and these pictures are from the first batch of this white bread I’ve ever baked. Now I bake this about twice a month. It makes the house smell like a bakery and leaves my stomach and wallet happy.


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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, and all I want to break the fast on is cinnamon buns. This recipe is very easy, and though there’s a lot of wait time, it’s worth it.

Can you tell that I really like cinnamon buns?


The recipe yields a tender dough. The egg yolks make it rich, and the buttermilk adds a hint of tang to the recipe. I changed Alton’s recipe only a little bit because I didn’t have any instant yeast.

Everyone’s really excited to eat these tomorrow after 25 hours of fasting. Continue reading

Rosh Hashana Challah

IMG_3118 IMG_3120

It’s a tradition to eat round challah during the holidays to symbolize a repetitive cycle – the end of an old one and the beginning of a new one. Usually people add some sweetness to the challah with raisins, and instead of dipping it in salt, as we dip it in sugar (or honey). I skipped the raisins – a lot of my guests don’t like raisins – but made sure to use plenty of sugar.

This challah was definitely a special one. I’ve been practicing the six-strand braid and got really good at it, but have never braided a round one. It came out really pretty. I also made it dairy, since we were having dairy for the second day of rosh hashanah. Instead of the usual oil and water, I used milk and butter, which I thought would add a delicious flavor. Continue reading

Chocolate Babka

A couple of weeks ago I had some store-bought chocolate babka. It was delicious, and I was inspired to try it out with my sister as our next experiment.

Later on, we were scouring the internet and cookbooks for recipes.

We couldn’t find exactly what we were looking for, so we mixed and matched a few recipes to come up with what we hoped was the best chocolate babka ever.

It took a long time, but it was worth it!

It took a long time, but it was worth it!

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