Irish Soda Bread

This week, I’m dedicating my blog to everything Irish! With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, I decided to get a little jump-start on the holiday by testing out some new recipes. First up is Irish Soda Bread!

Soda bread is a variety of quick bread that uses a leavening agent (baking soda) instead of yeast. Traditional soda bread is very simple and made with only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. But it can also include other ingredients, such as currants/raisins, citrus, and nuts.

This week’s blog posts (3 of them!) all lead up to an absolutely divine dessert, so I went with a traditional, plain recipe. But check back tomorrow to find out what I’ve been scheming! The Irish Soda Bread can also be also be eaten on its own or as a side-dish for corned beef or a hearty Irish stew. I’m planning to bake up some more for this weekend’s dinner!

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Spent Grain Honey-Wheat Bread

Last week, I blogged about milling the spent grain from the boyfriend’s homebrew. He started up a batch of Nut Brown Ale and saved the grains for me to mill in to Spent Grain Flour. After smelling the sweet, malty notes of the flour, I knew it would go beautifully in a honey-wheat bread.

This was my first time making fresh-baked bread. There were a few hiccups along the way, mostly that my dough wasn’t rising very fast because my apartment is super-cold… So the bread turned out a little denser than I originally planned, but it tastes fabulous! 🙂

The spent grain flour gives the bread an extra layer of flavor, a hint of the nut brown ale. (If the beer were ready to drink, I’m sure they would go great together!)

The honey-wheat bread would also work well with several other spent grain flours, each one lending a different flavor to the bread. If you want to make it without the spent grain flour, just substitute an equal amount of whole wheat flour in its place!

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Banana Bread

Banana bread has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. As a kid, I remember my mom always keeping a bread basket of over-ripe bananas above the fridge to use for banana bread or banana chocolate chip muffins. As an adult, I got in to the bad habit of buying bananas, and then forgetting to eat them. And that’s when banana bread became one of my favorite go-to recipes. (Although now I buy slightly splotchy bananas on purpose and save them for banana bread…)

I love bringing banana bread to work or an early morning get-together with friends. It’s moist and delicious, with a strong banana flavor. And as the boyfriend’s former roommate once told me after she went to put cream cheese on a slice for breakfast, “this is Emily’s banana bread, it doesn’t need any stinking cream cheese!” (Which, by the way, was one of my favorite compliments to date!)

The secret to this recipe is to keep bananas long past the point of wanting to throw them away. The best flavor comes when the bananas are so brown that they’re almost black. If they’re squishy on the inside (not bruised), that’s even better. Just don’t let them grow mold, and watch for signs that they have cuts in the peel because you don’t want to attract fruit flies.

Banana bread is best served the day after you bake it and will last in a sealed container for about a week. If you have extra bananas on hand, the recipe doubles beautifully. Just be sure to space them at least 6 inches apart to allow heat to circulate in your oven. And if you don’t like pecans, you can substitute walnuts or even chocolate chips! 😀

Click below for the recipe. Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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