I am celebrating St Patrick Day with some tasty Soda bread with cheddar and Rosemary from my garden.
- Olive oil for coating the skillet or baking sheet
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour can substitute additional all-purpose
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- several turns of freshly-ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped
- 2 cups sharp or mature cheddar cheese grated
- 2 cups cold buttermilk plus extra for brushing
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Lightly coat a 10-inch cast iron skillet .
- Cut the butter into small cubes, place on a plate, and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Add the rosemary and cheddar, and stir to combine.
- Add the chilled butter and, using your fingers, work the cubes into the flour by quickly pinching and rubbing the butter and flour together. The butter should be fully worked in, without leaving large chunks.
- Add 2 cups buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine. Once it becomes difficult to stir, use your hands to press and gather the dough into a rough, craggy ball. Shape the ball until slightly flattened and about 7 or 8 inches in diameter.
- Transfer the dough to your baking surface, and with a sharp knife, score a large X about 1/2-inch deep all the way from end to end (see photo in post). Brush the top with a bit more buttermilk.
- Bake for 25 minutes, then check the bread; if the top is already nicely browned, tent with a piece of aluminum foil. Continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes more. The bread is ready when the center of the X has lost the wet, shiny look of raw dough. You can also insert a cake tester or skewer — it should come out clean.