There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
— George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright
This is my second month participating in Progressive Eats, a virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month is hosted by Liz Berg, the author of That Skinny Chick Can Bake (and boy can she!). We’re featuring dishes with a St. Patrick’s Day theme. At the end of the post you will find all the delicious recipes including drinks, appetizers, main course, sides dishes and dessert!
I’m at it again. The woman with the fear of dough is sharing a recipe for homemade biscuits. Last post I shared super simple no-rise challah and now mini Irish soda biscuits for St. Patrick’s Day. So if hot-out-of-the-oven bread is only a dream for you, get over your fear and turn on the oven!
A Rise in Baking
Now that my confidence with bread is on the rise, I was eager to learn about traditional Irish Soda Bread. Turns out it is a really simple bread to make. No yeast, no rise time, very little kneading. Buttermilk activates the baking soda to make it rise in the oven. In my head, though, I was picturing individual rolls or biscuits to go with the meal. So I looked back at my Cheesy Yogurt Biscuits recipe and modified that with influence from the Irish Soda Bread technique and created these little gems.
Mini Irish Soda Biscuits or
At first go-round, I thought it would be cute to make them in mini muffin tins. Truthfully, all that accomplished was a soft bottom to the muffin/biscuit and extra time to clean the tin. So on the next try, I just dropped them straight on to parchment and they worked out perfectly.
Traditional Irish Flavors
I also experimented with the flavors; the recipe below gives you choices. After researching Irish flavors, I learned that caraway, thyme, and currants are very traditional in Irish Soda Bread. I tried caraway and thyme in the first batch and loved the caraway flavor, reminiscent of a crusty deli rye bread from my childhood memory flavor bank. Second time, I left out the caraway and tried currants and thyme with a hint of orange zest. The biscuits were a little less savory but still a great match for a hearty meal. The currants really popped in the little biscuits. Just loved the texture and flavor they add to the crumb.
Caraway and currants would also be a great combination. So be creative – go with what you like, what you have on hand, or what matches your meal the best.
A Cultured Decision
For liquid, I used all buttermilk as well as buttermilk and yogurt. The yogurt makes the biscuits really light. You could also increase the amount of butter if you want something flakier but I like the more quick bread/soda bread type of texture.
My recipe calls for half white flour and half whole wheat. You can certainly use all white or all whole wheat or even experiment with spelt, for example. These come together quickly with no knead need for a mixer or Cuisinart. If you have any leftovers, they will crisp back up nicely in a toaster or regular oven.
Hope you enjoy this month’s #ProgressiveEats menu and these little Irish Soda Bread Biscuits.
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 cups buttermilk (or 1.25 cups buttermilk and ¼ cup plain yogurt)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 tablespoons frozen butter shredded
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ⅓ cup currants (hydrate in hot water if yours are a little dry)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put all dry ingredients thru salt into a small to medium size bowl. If you are using orange zest, thyme, or caraway seeds, add them as well. Whisk it all until combined.
- In a measuring cup combine buttermilk and honey (yogurt if using).
- Shred the butter as if shredding cheddar cheese and put it directly into the flour mixture. Use your hands or a pastry blender to mix it in. You should see it clump up a bit. It's not much butter so you will not see all the flour dissolve into little peas of butter - there will be plenty of loose flour still visible.
- Now pour in the buttermilk mixture and combine with a spatula for a few stirs then add in the currants if you are using them and finish mixing until just combined with no loose flour showing.
- Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes (or longer).
- Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon drop a little under a ¼ cup of dough for each biscuit on to the parchment lined baking sheet. Leave about 1.5 inches between each one so they cook evenly and crisp up. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, then move to a cooling rack. Eat them warm out of the oven if possible but they reheat nicely the next day.
St. Patrick’s Day Recipes
- Smoked Salmon Stuffed Baby Potatoes from The Redhead Baker
- Spinach Feta Rugelach from Mother Would Know
- Hot Cocoa with Baileys and Coconut Whipped Cream (Dairy-Free) from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Spicy Lamb Cobbler from Spice Roots
- Irish Soda Biscuits with Caraway and Thyme from OMG! Yummy
- Bacon and Leek Irish Colcannon (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
- Cabbage with Bacon and Cream from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
- Key Lime Pie with Graham Cracker Crust from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Irish Whiskey Cake from Creative Culinary