Friday, October 18, 2013

Michigan Cherries in Soda Bread

On a recent visit, Big Sis brought a bag of wonderful, tangy, chewy, dark red dried cherries from Michigan. One of our sisters lives near Traverse City and they are famous for their cherries. It was an excellent hostess gift!

With such a bounty in hand, I had fun thinking about how to use those cherries. What I finally decided on was to use them in one of my favorite quick breads...Irish Soda Bread. Now my ancestors did use dried fruit in baking, but I think it was often raisins, currants, and prunes. Beautiful dried cherries like these would be pure luxury...and they were in this bread. I also added some golden raisins (more traditional) and the two went very well together.

Soda bread goes together quickly, especially because it does best with minimal handling. The craggy top is nice and crunchy while the interior is buttery and soft with bits of the fruit here and there. I was out of buttermilk, so I put some freshly squeezed lime juice in some milk to 'sour' it. Worked beautifully. In very little time I had some nice warm soda bread to go with a cup of Irish Breakfast tea. Now I'm going to think about what else I want to make with the rest of the cherries. Hmmm.

Irish Soda Bread with Golden Raisins and Dried Cherries
makes one medium loaf

1 cup (about) whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
4 oz. (½ stick) cold butter, in thin slices
¼ cup golden raisins or currants
¼ cup roughly chopped dried cherries
In a small bowl combine the milk and the fresh lime juice. Let sit to 'sour' the milk, at least 5 minutes.
Sift the dry ingredients over the butter and cut in well with a fork or pastry blender. Add the raisins and dried cherry pieces; mix well.

Add the soured milk and mix just until moist - don’t over handle. You may need to add 2 - 4 more tablespoons of milk.  Some dry stuff is OK but the dough should be sticky.

Pat into a round on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Cut a cross on top. Bake 45 minutes at 3500 F. Cool a bit before slicing.

By the way, today we painted the door for the front entry and installed it and the handle and lock set, so now the entry itself is finished!


  1. I love raisins (or prunes, for that matter) in bread and adding dried cherries makes it even better! What a wonderful bread and I'll bet it is so good! Thanks for the tip about lime juice and milk, too.

  2. The new door is beautiful!

    Dried cherries are a great addition to banana bread.

  3. What a good idea to add dried fruit to soda bread! My soda bread is always just a little too dry (I'm probably doing something wrong) and the fruits would be so welcome.

    Oooh! Save some of the dried cherries to make cherry snowballs!

    Here's Mum's recipe (Mum used maraschino cherries but I use dried cherries and I think the snowballs taste much better that way)

  4. What a great recipe, Elizabeth! I will try it with some of the cherries, and maybe some with dried cranberries, too. A new cookie...Yay!

  5. It IS a great recipe, Elle. Dried cranberries in cherry snowballs! You wild thing, you!

    If you run out of dried fruits, you can shape the dough into crescents. Roll the crescents in icing sugar once they're baked. They melt in your mouth in the most pleasing way. (Mum always made crescents and cherry snowballs every Christmas.)