About a month ago I tried a whole slew of Irish soda bread recipes. The first recipe claimed to be a traditional family recipe handed down from someone's grandma. It was so salty and bitter I almost had to spit it out. The next version I tried resulted in a dense, dry and rather bland bread with a baking soda aftertaste. I called it quits until a few weeks later when I discovered several cups of sour milk in my fridge. Rather than dumping said milk down the drain, I decided to give soda bread another go. This time around I baked the loaf in a covered casserole dish. Bingo. Except that I then proceeded to eat nearly half the loaf while standing over the stove.
After finally finding a reliable base recipe I decided to switch it up a bit with some homemade ranch seasonings. Let's just say you can cut that consumption time in half if you add garlic and dill. I can only imagine how quickly a loaf would disappear if one were to stir in cheese. Fresh out of the oven this loaf has a hard, crunchy crust and soft interior. If cooled and stored in a bag (assuming you can resist the fresh, hot bread stage) the crust softens while the center becomes slightly firmer. Bread this fast and simple could easily become a habit.
Garlic-Dill Soda Bread
base recipe heavily adapted from Liz the Chef
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp (6.5 ounces total) fat-free milk
4 tsp lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1-1/2 tsp onion powder
1 to 1-1/2 tsp garlic granules (use 1-1/2 tsp if you really love garlic)
3/4 tsp dried dill weed
1/2 tsp dried mustard powder
* Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 1-1/2 quart or larger casserole dish that has a lid.
* In a small bowl combine milk and lemon juice. Let stand 5-7 minutes or until thickened.
* Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, parsley, onion powder, garlic granules, dill weed and mustard powder. Fluff mixture with a fork until evenly combined (or sift together). Make well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour in milk mixture.
* Stir until dough almost comes together. Turn onto floured surface and knead 1 minute, just until dough comes together; do not over-work. Shape into a 4-1/2-inch diameter circle and place in prepared casserole dish. Using a sharp knife cut an X-shape 3/4 of the way down into the loaf. Cover casserole dish and bake 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more. Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature.