Soda bread, it doesn’t get more Irish than that! Known as “quick bread”, soda bread can be made and ready to be eaten in just 40 minutes - no need to knead the dough endlessly or wait for it to rise. Soda bread is made up of just a few simple ingredients and could be enjoyed however you’d like in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day!
The name can be quite misleading because it doesn’t contain any soda or pop. Instead of yeast, which is a staple leavening ingredient found in most bread recipes, Irish Soda Bread is made up of baking soda. Usually used in most baked goods, baking soda also acts as a leavening agent to help things rise. In this case, we’re skipping the yeast activating process which could take hours and substituting in baking soda, which activates almost immediately.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re bringing out the Irish Soda Bread recipe and turning it up a notch by using it to make Irish Bread Grilled Cheese. Packed with Irish cheddar cheese, basil pesto spread, and avocado, all you’d need is a tall glass of Guiness to complete this perfect St. Patty-esque meal!
Irish Soda Bread:
- Soda Bread:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading and dusting
- ¾ tsp of baking soda
- ½ tsp of salt
- 1 tbsp of caraway seeds
- 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 2 tbsp of melted unsalted butter
- Grilled Cheese:
- 8 slices of Irish cheddar cheese, or any cheese of choice
- ⅓ cup of basil pesto
- Additional melted butter to coat the bread
Grilled Cheese Assembly (makes 2 sandwiches):
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and caraway seeds. Slowly stir in the buttermilk and 2 tbsp of melted butter until combined.
- Dust a flat, clean surface and place the dough onto it. Knead the dough about 6 times until it comes together. Form the kneaded dough into a 6-inch ball and cut a large X on the top and place onto a baking sheet.
- Dust the dough with flour and bake until golden brown (about 30-35 minutes)
- Transfer the baked loaf to a rack and let cool before cutting it into slices.
- Cut 4 slices off the loaf of bread, and spread melted butter onto each slice.
- Turn the slices over and spread basil pesto onto each piece. Layer the cheese onto two slices of bread and top each with the remaining cheeseless pieces of bread (pesto side down, buttered side up).
- Heat a skillet to medium heat and place the grilled cheese sandwiches into the pan. Grill until golden brown (about 5-7 minutes).
- Flip the sandwiches to grill the other side until golden brown and cheese is melted.
- Cut into halves and enjoy!