Recipe: Raspberry Walnut Irish Soda Bread

Let’s talk toast. Not toast toppers, like the runaway Pinterest hit avocado toast, or the popular homemade nut butter toast. Let’s talk instead about the actual toast: whole-grain bread, toasted.

Because first-rate homemade bread makes really, really good toast.

Hearty Irish soda bread is leavened with baking soda and buttermilk instead of yeast, which takes a while to rise. So you can have your bread — and your toast — quick. It takes only about 10 minutes to mix up before you pop the freeform loaf in the oven. And the best part is that you can load up the dough with all sorts of add-ins to make it just as delicious — and exciting — as any toast topper.

In lieu of a traditional Irish soda bread, try this fruity (and pretty) version made with berries:

Frozen raspberries

Red raspberries contain more fiber than any other berry, with 9 grams per cup; plus they are packed with antioxidants, including vitamin C, which help protect against free radicals and cell damage. In this recipe, frozen berries work better than fresh because frozen don’t get mashed into the dough — they stay intact for a pop of berry goodness when you take a bite. Frozen raspberries may even contain more nutrients than fresh, because they are frozen at the peak of ripeness to lock in nutrition.

Whole-wheat flour

This is another antioxidant- and fiber-rich ingredient, and one that adds toasty whole-grain goodness — even before the bread becomes toast.

An egg

Many Irish soda bread recipes do not include an egg; but here, the protein-rich egg adds structure, helps the dense loaf rise and makes it a bit tenderer.

Walnuts

Protein, fiber, Omega-3 healthy fats and pleasant crunch all make walnuts a don’t-skip ingredient.

This bread makes your kitchen smell amazing and is delicious out of the oven spread with a bit of butter. In fact, even though it makes a very large loaf, you may even want to make two loaves, especially if you are hoping there will be some left over the next day. For toast.

Raspberry Walnut Irish Soda Bread

Makes about 18 servings.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup walnuts

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1/4 cup butter, softened, but not melty

1 cup frozen raspberries (do not thaw)

1 egg

1 1/3 cups buttermilk

Photo by: Picasa

Picasa

Cornmeal for dusting

Note: If you don’t have buttermilk, use any of these substitutions: 1 tablespoon vinegar + enough milk to make 1 1/3 cups liquid; or 1 cup plain yogurt + 1/3 cup milk or water; or 1 1/3 cups kefir

Directions:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread walnuts on baking sheet; toast in oven for 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop nuts; set aside.

In a large bowl, using a fork, mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and caraway seeds. With a pastry blender or with 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add chopped walnuts and raspberries; toss gently.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk; add to flour mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon just until mixed. Do not overmix.

Optional step to develop the structure of the bread; without this step, bread will be slightly flatter, about 4 inches tall instead of 6 inches tall: Turn dough onto floured surface and knead lightly about 5 times, adding additional flour if dough is too sticky.

Mound (kneaded or non-kneaded) dough onto cornmeal-dusted baking stone or baking sheet. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until loaf is slightly golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool completely before slicing.

Per serving (1/18 of recipe): Calories 177; Fat 6 g (Saturated 2 g); Sodium 333 mg; Carbohydrate 28 g; Fiber 3 g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 5 g

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Serena Ball, M.S., R.D., is a registered dietitian nutritionist. She blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com sharing tips and tricks to help readers find cooking shortcuts for making healthy, homemade meals. Her recipes are created with families in mind.

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