I know, a recipe for Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread doesn’t appear to be in my wheelhouse. But, I can explain. Two things come immediately to mind. First, I never met a holiday I didn’t like to cook for (whether I celebrate or not is beside the point) so why should Saint Patty’s Day be an exception? But, probably more importantly, ‘tis the season of the great pantry purge.
In the weeks that lead in to Passover, I begin to take stock (literally and figuratively) of all that I have. Literally, it’s what’s in the kitchen—specifically what’s in my pantry that I can use up. I typically don’t buy ANYTHING except fresh fruits and veggies, which forces me to use up what I have. Wheat Berries? What did I buy them for anyhow? I can’t even remember.
Oh, wait…wasn’t my soon to be niece just telling me that she has been using her Nutribullet to pulverize wheat berries so she can bake bread? Like, milling her own flour so it’s 100% whole wheat with all the fiber and protein, and none of the good stuff missing. Hmm, I bet my Vitamix could do that.
While I pondered that one, I came across two half used bags of rye flour. I’ve been making rye bread sticks in my cooking workshops this month. In my enthusiasm for the yumminess I must have over stocked. Although I’m totally into whole grain flours like rye—who wouldn’t want all that fiber, magnesium and blood sugar control??—I need to use it up!
Idea spark for Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread
Later that day, as I stood on line at the grocery, flipping through magazines I saw a photo of a Saint Patty’s Day feast. Front and center (right next to the corned beef), there it was. A gorgeous loaf of Irish Soda Bread. Bam! Just like that, my mind was made up. What a perfect way to use what I had and turn it into something seasonal, tasty, healthy and nurturing. I just love when things fall together like that. Don’t you?
I’m calling this Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread, knowing that purists will call me out on that, but I’m OK with it. Traditional Irish Soda Bread uses baking soda rather than yeast. I’ve got that one covered!! Even though I used some healthy swaps (like plant milk combined with apple cider vinegar instead of buttermilk), the essence of the bread is still there.. It’s all good.
Things I love about Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread:
- Instant Gratification: no need to wait for the dough to rise.
- Inexpensive: simple wholesome ingredients that are budget friendly
- FIBER: whole grains = tons of fiber.
- NOURISHING: made with whole, real food.
- Makes awesome TOAST. (add some almond butter + jam and a simple, nourishing breakfast or lunch or dinner or snack is at your fingertips!).
- My house smells DIVINE during and after baking.
- SUPER SIMPLE: no special baking skills required
- It produces a BEAUTIFUL crust.
- Homemade means I get to control the ingredients.
- Making it helps me clean out my pantry.
Back to the Passover Purge. Good thing I’ve begun the process early. Not only will I need some time to use up all that’s in the pantry, but I’ll also need some time to ponder the figurative purge of those things that no longer serve me well.
- 1 ½ cups wheat berries (yield approx. 2 cups flour)*
- 2 cups rye flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup beer
- ¾ cup almond milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400 and line large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- In a high-speed blender (Nutribullet will work too), pulverize the wheat berries until they turn into flour.
- Using a wooden spoon, in a large mixing bowl, combine the wheat flour, rye flour, baking soda and salt. Add in beer, milk, honey and ACV. Stir until the dough comes together into a slightly sticky ball. If the dough seems too dry, add a splash more beer, if it seems too sticky, sprinkle in additional flour.*
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and kneed into a rough ball. Place dough on prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with a bit of flour and use a sharp knife to score a cross on the top of the dough.
- Bake for 45 minutes, until the loaf has almost double in size and sounds hollow when tapped.
- Cool on a wire rack and slice.
- Bread is terrific toasted with jam.
* You can use 2 cups whole wheat flour in place of milling the wheat berries yourself.
* You should be able to touch the dough without clumps of it sticking to your hands....but it should also stay together in one ball without dry bits breaking off on their own.
Serving Size:2 slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 777mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 7gSugar: 13gProtein: 8g