Thursday, November 06, 2014

Mini Cranberry Walnut Soda Bread Loaf

There they sat on the counter, reminding me that I had left them out of the scones; a half recipe of bourbon soaked cranberries and a similar amount of chopped walnuts. What to do with them? I'm out of pumpkin at the moment, although I do have some sugar pumpkins ready to be cooked with, just no pumpkin puree, so no pumpkin recipe this time.

A check of the fridge showed that I have buttermilk and butter, so an obvious and delicious choice was Irish soda bread enhanced with cranberries and walnuts instead of currants and caraway. The lovely thing about soda bread is how quickly it goes together. I grated a little clementine zest into the sugar and rubbed it in a la Dorie Greenspan, then added that to the mixture of all-purpose and white whole wheat flour, plus baking soda, baking powder and salt. The butter was sliced and worked into the dry mixture, the buttermilk added and mixed in about half way, then I dumped in the cranberries and walnuts and mixed the rest of the way, with just a bit of the dry mixture staying dry...don't want to overwork the gluten on this quick bread. Onto the silpat lined baking sheet with the dough, a quick shape with floured hands, then I cut a cross into the center with a bench scraper. A sprinkle of sanding sugar and into the oven it went.

This is a delightful version of my Aunt May's soda bread. I only made half the recipe because that was the right proportion for the cranberries, but just double it to make a big loaf. The cranberries, walnuts and clementines are all fall flavors and great with the tang the buttermilk gives. This makes a lovely afternoon snack with a cup of tea. Sweetie enjoyed a slice with some fresh persimmons and he said that the bread went perfectly with that autumn fruit. I just love autumn afternoons!

Mini Cranberry Walnut Soda Bread Loaf
Makes on mini loaf

1 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup tablespoons sugar
zest from half an orange or a whole clementine or tangerine
4 oz. (½ stick) cold butter, in thin slices
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup dried cranberries, plumped with hot water or bourbon, then drained
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Mix the dry ingredients, except sugar, in a bowl. Put the sugar into a small bowl and rub the citrus zest into it with your clean fingers. Mix sugar into the dry ingredients. Add the butter slices  and cut in well with a fork or pastry blender. Add the buttermilk and mix just until partly moist - don’t over-
handle. Add the cranberries and walnuts; mix well. Some dry stuff is OK but the dough should be sticky. Pat into a round on a parchment-lined or silpat lined cookie sheet. Cut a cross on top. Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degree F. Tap bottom to make sure bread is cooked through. It will sound hollow. Cool a bit before slicing.


  1. I'm suddenly and inexplicably sensitive to the sugars in milk products - yay, hives and irritable stomach! - but we've used the dickens out of buttermilk and Greek yogurt, and I'm so grateful for how buttermilk makes beads and pastries so lovely. This looks REALLY tasty. I've not really done sweet do

  2. You can reduce the sugar, use buttermilk, and leave out the fruit and nuts and have the bread that my Aunt May used to serve with tea. Of course she slathered on the butter but it's yummy plain, too.