Dill and Potato Irish Soda Bread

Dill and Potato Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread – often simply described as “soda bread” – is the sort of recipe that everyone should know how to make. The savory, quick-rising bread gets its lift from baking soda, not from yeast, and it can be mixed up in less than 5 minutes. You read that right: homemade …

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Dill and Potato Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread – often simply described as “soda bread” – is the sort of recipe that everyone should know how to make. The savory, quick-rising bread gets its lift from baking soda, not from yeast, and it can be mixed up in less than 5 minutes. You read that right: homemade bread from scratch with almost no prep time!

Not only does it come together quickly, soda bread can be flavored in any number of different ways, so that one bread recipe can yield dozens of different loaves. I’ve made sweet versions and savory versions before, so you really can take it in any direction you want to go. This Dill and Potato Irish Soda Bread is a savory herbed soda bread that uses plenty of dill, making it a great choice for springtime dining.

Instant potatoes may seem like an unusual ingredient here, but they’re a surprisingly handy ingredient to have when you bake a lot of breads, whether yeast breads or quick breads. The potatoes dissolve into the bread, so you don’t get any potato flavor at all, and create a softer crumb than wheat flour alone. That is why you’ll often see soft “potato bread” in the sandwich bread section of the grocery store.

Instant potatoes keep very well in the cupboard, so you can have them on hand for baking projects without needing to cook up whole potatoes. If you happen to have leftover mashed potatoes, they can be substituted by using 1/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup of instant. Leftover potatoes have more moisture than dried potato flakes, so your final loaf may need ever-so-slightly less buttermilk to come together.

I used dried dill, but fresh dill can be used if you happen to have some. Fresh dill is more potent than dried, so use slightly less than the amount I suggest below. If you’re a big dill fan, feel free to use a bit more! The bread is herbacious and savory, with a great flavor. It’s delicious when served warm and spread with butter, or when paired with a great spring soup or salad. The loaf can be eaten almost as soon as it comes out of the oven and is at its best when its fresh, so try to make it as soon before serving as possible. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature and taste great toasted when served alongside a soup or salad.

Dill and Potato Irish Soda Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup instant potato flakes
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dried dill
approx 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, sugar and dried dill. Stir in buttermilk, mixing until the dough pulls together into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add in an additional 1-2 tablespoons of flour. Dough will be sticky, but you should be able to shape it into a ball.
Shape dough into a ball and place on parchment paper. Cut two deep slashes (to form a +) on the top of the loaf.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and set.
Allow loaf to cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf; Serves 6-8.

*Note: Lots of soda breads include raisins or currants, regardless of whether the bread is sweet or savory. If you like raisins in your soda bread, , stir in 1/2 cup along with the buttermilk and continue with the directions as written.

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Mocha Coconut Bread

Mocha Coconut Bread

Several years ago, Starbucks offered a Mocha Coconut Frappuccino on the menu as one of their summer blended drinks. Anyone who is a regular reader knows that I’m a big coconut fan, so it’s probably not a surprise to learn that the combination of coffee, chocolate and coconut really worked for me …

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Mocha Coconut Bread

Several years ago, Starbucks offered a Mocha Coconut Frappuccino on the menu as one of their summer blended drinks. Anyone who is a regular reader knows that I’m a big coconut fan, so it’s probably not a surprise to learn that the combination of coffee, chocolate and coconut really worked for me on hot days that summer. It has been years since that drink was on the menu and I don’t see the combination of mocha and coconut all that often, even though it is a good one.

This Mocha Coconut Bread is a great way to enjoy these flavors no matter what the weather outside is like! The easy-to-make quick bread has plenty of flavor and is sure to become a staple if you are partial to mocha, to coconut or to both! The bread is moist and tender, with a tight crumb that is flecked with pieces of shredded coconut. You can taste the coconut, which adds a slight chewiness to the bread, in each bite, but the flavor of mocha dominates the loaf with a blend of both chocolate and coffee.

I recommend using instant espresso powder in this recipe, as it adds a more distinct coffee flavor than traditional instant coffee will. If you only have instant coffee, double the amount I’ve given below to get a similar flavor.  Although the loaf has a deep chocolate color, the bread is not overly rich or overly sweet, so you won’t feel one bit guilty for pairing a generous slice with a cup of coffee for breakfast. The bread keeps very well when stored in an airtight container and should stay fresh for a few days after baking.

As is the case with the majority of the coconut recipes on Baking Bites, you can use either sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut in this recipe. I typically use sweetened coconut because I like a touch of extra sweetness to contrast with the bittersweet cocoa powder. If you want even more coconut flavor, opt for coconut milk (the light canned milk is always a good choice for baking). I finished my loaf with a sprinkle of coarse sugar to bring a little texture to the bread, however it is completely optional. The bread is excellent when eaten plain, but it can also be paired with butter, cream cheese or a smear of Nutella.

Mocha Coconut Bread
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk (pref. whole or low fat)
2 tsp instant espresso powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a a 9-5-inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder, making sure no large lumps of cocoa powder remain in the mixture. Stir in sugar and shredded coconut.
In a large bowl or microwave-safe measuring cup, warm 1/4 cup of milk in the microwave and dissolve espresso powder into it. Combine with the rest of the milk, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in egg mixture. Stir until just combined and only a few streaks of flour remain.
Add in melted butter and stir until batter is smooth and no streaks of butter remain.
Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf

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Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Loaf

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Loaf
Meyer lemons are always a favorite of mine when it comes to baked goods. The citrus – which is in season all year round – is less acidic than other lemons, meaning that it has a wonderful lemon flavor yet seems to be a touch sweeter than most lemons. This Meyer Lemon Poppyseed …

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Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Loaf
Meyer lemons are always a favorite of mine when it comes to baked goods. The citrus – which is in season all year round – is less acidic than other lemons, meaning that it has a wonderful lemon flavor yet seems to be a touch sweeter than most lemons. This Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Loaf is a delicious way to put meyer lemons to good use. It is a moist and easy to make quick bread that is bursting with lemon flavor in every bite, accented by the subtle crunch of poppyseeds.

The bread is easy to put together and features both lemon zest and lemon juice. Most of the lemon flavor comes from the citrus zest, which is the colorful exterior of a citrus fruit. The zest is loaded with lemon oil, a potent flavoring agent. You’ll want to use a microplane to quickly and efficiently remove the zest from the fruit. Once you have zested the lemon, combine it with sugar – which will rub even more oil out of it as you mix the two together – and the rest of the ingredients in the batter. There is a small amount of lemon juice in the batter, as well as some in the glaze.

The lemon glaze that is used in this recipe is very easy to make and a little bit different than most of the other glazes that I make. It is made with lemon juice and granulated sugar, and it is spooned directly onto the hot loaf when it comes out of the oven. The lemon juice will kind of soak into the loaf, while the lemon-flavored sugar sits on top. As the loaf cools, the juice will be absorbed – making the loaf moist – while the sugar forms a subtle crust on top. It has a really bright flavor and a hint of crunch, which makes it particularly delicious!

You can use regular lemons for this recipe for a more traditional lemon poppyseed loaf. It will be just as delicious, with a slightly different (and still very lemony!) flavor profile from the meyer lemon version. The loaf is ready to eat as soon as it has cooled and you should allow it to cool completely before slicing it to allow the lemon glaze to set.

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Loaf
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp meyer lemon zest
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup meyer lemon juice
1 tbsp poppyseeds

Drizzle
2 tbsp meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and the base of the loaf pan with parchment paper to minimize sticking.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, lemon zest, egg and vanilla extract. Stir in vegetable oil and whisk until completely incorporated. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk and lemon juice. Stir in the remaining flour mixture and the poppyseeds and mix until batter is uniform. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf pan comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached and the top springs back when lightly pressed.

While the loaf is baking, prepare the drizzle by combining lemon juice and granulated sugar in a small bowl. When the loaf comes out of the oven. us a spoon to drizzle the sugar mixture evenly over the top of the loaf. Do not pierce loaf, simply allow the mixture to soak in as the loaf cools.
When cooled, remove loaf from pan and slice to serve.

Makes 1 loaf; serves 8-12.

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Peanut Brittle Banana Bread

Peanut Brittle Banana Bread
Banana bread is something that I never get tired of baking. Not only it is simple to make, but it’s versatile enough that you can change up the flavors every time and get equally different – and delicious – results. Peanut butter and banana is a great combination. The salty sweetness of peanut …

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Peanut Brittle Banana Bread
Banana bread is something that I never get tired of baking. Not only it is simple to make, but it’s versatile enough that you can change up the flavors every time and get equally different – and delicious – results. Peanut butter and banana is a great combination. The salty sweetness of peanut butter is a great match for the fruity sweetness of banana. Both peanut butter and bananas have a creamy texture, however, so one way to get even more out of this combination is to add some texture to it. This was the inspiration for my Peanut Brittle Banana Bread, which has chunks of salty-sweet peanut brittle swirled throughout a moist, tender banana bread!

The two key ingredients for this recipe are ripe bananas and peanut brittle. Two large bananas will give you about a cup of mashed banana. Don’t worry if you have a bit more or a bit less than that amount, as the recipe is fairly forgiving of the banana component. You will, however, want to ensure that you have plenty of peanut brittle so that you get some in every bite of banana bread. You can make your own from scratch or use store-bought peanut brittle. I actually used brittle from See’s Candies that I coarsely chopped before stirring into the batter. I love the salty-sweet element that peanut brittle brings. Unlike adding just peanut butter, it doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the bananas, so you get a great balance of peanut, candy and banana throughout the whole loaf. The nuts from the brittle add a great crunch, too.

I recommend both greasing your loaf pan and lining the base with parchment paper for this recipe. The toffee bits will melt and caramelize in the oven, creating deliciously sticky pockets that can stick to the sides of the pan. Lining the base – I usually line the sides, as well – ensures that the loaf will slide out of the pan neatly after baking. Allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing. I serve these slices as=is, but feel free to spread them with peanut butter for an even more filling treat!

Peanut Brittle Banana Bread
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 salt
2 large bananas
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt
In a large bowl, mash the banana. Add in sugar, egg, butter and vanilla and stir until well-combined. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, followed by the coarsely chopped peanut brittle. Mix until brittle is well-distributed and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour batter into loaf pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow loaf to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf.

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