During my first semester at Wesleyan, prior to my love of baking, there were some nights when I was so stressed out from papers and homework that I couldn’t sleep but couldn’t continue writing a paper or finishing a problem set. Have you ever been in that situation? Those nights were the start of my food-making journey simply because of me stumbling into the wide array of food blogs. The pretty food pictures excite me, the narratives before the recipes themselves entertain me, and the great variety of food I can make from the same ingredients amaze me. There will be times when I can spend up to 4 hours at a time just browsing food blogs!

One time, I came across a blog called Skinnytaste . It’s geared towards helping people manage and lose weight by providing recipes with less fat and sugar. Although I do appreciate the fats and sugars in my own baked goods, her blog got so much attention and positive comments that I just had to try out her recipes. Admittedly, baking with a healthier take — using whole wheat flour and other substitutions — is not for everyone, but I love it. Whole wheat flour brings a more in-depth texture, provides a subtle nutty flavor, and makes for a much more satisfying food. This Irish Soda Bread contains a mix of whole-wheat flour and good ol’ all-purpose flour, so if you are on the hesitant side of “healthy” baking, this is a good starter recipe to dip in your toes into the healthy baking lifestyle. This bread is more dense than yeasted bread but still pillowy on the inside. The crust is thick with a good crunch, which makes this bread suitable for dipping in soup. Additionally, this bread is quick to put together and doesn’t require a hand mixer, stand mixer, or any fancy bread-maker equipment for that matter. All you need is a bowl, a wooden spoon, and a cookie sheet. How awesome is that?!

 

Healthy Irish Soda Bread

 

Healthy Irish Soda Bread
Adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups whole-wheat flour*
1½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
1½  cups 1% buttermilk
3 oz (2/3 cup) raisins (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients (the first 5) in a large bowl with a whisk. Slowly add buttermilk while stirring with a wooden spoon until a soft dough is formed.
  3. Add raisins if desired, and knead the dough lightly on a sheet of wax paper or a floured surface for about 1 minute. Form into a round, slightly flattened shape.
  4. Place on a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, make an X at the top about 1/2 inch deep.
  5. Bake about 40 minutes, until golden. To test if it’s done, insert a toothpick into the center (if it comes out clean the bread is done). Let it cool on a baking rack for about 5-10 minutes before serving.


*Note:

  • If you are really opposed to whole wheat baked goods, you can simply use 3 cups of all-purpose flour.