How’s that for a mouthful.. Caraway Soda Bread Pudding with Irish Cheddar. Whew. And while that may sound difficult to make, it couldn’t be more simple. Soda bread is a beautiful thing because there’s no yeast involved. I love baking bread, but I seldom have the patience to wait out the rise/knead/rise/knead process. Soda bread, on the other hand, requires substantially less time without sacrifing flavor or texture. The catch? A shortened shelf life.
Consider this recipe a two for one deal that ensures no bread will go to waste.
The first recipe, a relatively traditional Irish soda bread, is delightful – a crisp crust encompassing a fragrant interior. It’s worth baking an extra loaf to ensure there’s enough on hand for the decadence of the second recipe – a savory bread pudding showcasing Irish cheddar and stout. I highly recommend baking two loaves: one to serve alongside Irish Stew on St. Patrick’s Day and a second for pudding alongside Irish Bacon and Guinness Bloody Marys for the morning after.
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine.
Soda Bread Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Bread Pudding Ingredients
3 oz. sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
4 large eggs
1 cups whole milk (don’t skimp!)
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup Oatmeal or Irish Stout
Soda Bread Steps
Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375F.
Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, and caraway seeds) in a large bowl.
Gradually stir in buttermilk, beer, and butter until fully incorporated, leaving a few lumps here and there to prevent over mixing.
Transfer bread dough to a well-floured surface. Using floured hands, gently knead 8 to 10 times until a soft ball forms (it’ll be slightly sticky to the touch). Form into a round and place on a nonstick baking sheet. Cut a 1/2 inch “X” into the top of the loaf using a sharp knife. Dust with 1 tbs. flour.
Bake until golden brown. When ready, the loaf will sound hollow when tapped, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
To Make the Pudding
Leave the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F.
Grease a shallow 2 qt. baking dish or 6 individual ramekins with butter.
Cut bread into 1″ cubes, leaving crust intact, for a total of 3 1/2 to 4 cups. Place in prepared baking dish(es).
Whisk together eggs, milk, beer, a pinch of salt, and freshly grated pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in cheese. Spoon mixture over the bread. Allow to soak for 10 minutes, up to 15 minutes.
Bring a pot of water up to a boil. Place baking dish(es) in a large baking pan. Fill the pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the bread pudding dish. This will encourage slow, even cooking.
Bake until no longer running – a knife inserted into the center should come out clean – about 35 minutes.
Transfer from the water bath to a rack and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with an Irish Stout.