Prepper Irish Soda Bread

I modeled this on a fancier Irish Soda bread, made in much larger lots.

This is a more plain bread, made a bit more roughly. Only flour, soured milk, oil and salt.

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup evaporated condensed milk, reconstituted to 1/2 cup
1 & 1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt.
1/2 tsp baking soda

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and soda.
In a measuring cup, reconstitute the milk to make 1/2 cup. Add the vinegar and stir.
Pour about 3 oz. of the liquid into the dry and mix with a spoon.
If you need more, add more liquid in small amounts until you have a loose dough.

Dust the counter or table top work surface with flour. Put the doughball on it, and knead it for just a few times. No more than ten. A too wet dough will pick up the flour it wants. When it is a nice texture, form a small round loaf, put it in an oiled cast iron skillet, cut a cross in the top, and place it in a 425 F oven for 20 minutes, then turn it down to 350 F for 10 minutes.

This makes a very neutral flavor (i.e. kind of bland). Fine as a bread with flavored beans. You can also add a tsp of sugar for a sweeter bread and even put some raisins or dried fruit in it. I like salt, so may try increasing salt by half.

It looked very nice, like it ought. But no photo… it didn’t survive the taste test ;-) Maybe tomorrow.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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10 Responses to Prepper Irish Soda Bread

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    Didn’t survive the taste test………………………………………..LOL!
    better luck on your next attempt. …pg

  2. Power Grab says:

    There wasn’t any regular bread at Wal-mart or Sprouts the last time I shopped. I ended up getting 3 loaves at Sprouts. One was plain French bread (which I made into garlic bread tonight, but it had a really dry, thick crust even though the inside was soft enough). The second was a loaf of sliced brioche bread, which I had never tried before. It is soft and slightly yellow and slightly sweet. I think the offspring has been using it for sandwiches. The third loaf was artisanal sourdough bread. I haven’t tried it yet because I already have a loaf of my regular sourdough bread that I’m working on.

    I did pick up some new bread machine yeast and bread flour and regular flour, so I can go that route if I choose.

    I think the French bread (now it’s sliced garlic bread) would work well as “croutons” for French onion soup. I will have to see if I have some beef broth. I know I have some chicken broth, but that’s not what the soup recipe calls for.

    Today I learned that all the personal-care businesses in my town have to stay closed until sometime in April. My hairdresser is REALLY bummed!!! I was scheduled for a cut-and-color appointment not far in the future. I will probably will have to have the offspring pickup up my old favorite color that I used until I decided it was worthwhile to pay my hairdresser do the coloring for me.

    My offspring told me the restaurants had been told to close today. I hadn’t heard that. We had been trying to help keep them in business, in our own small way. ;-)

    I have been stocking up on food for some weeks, saying I didn’t know but what they would tell everyone to stay home for a couple of weeks. I don’t think they’ve gotten to that point yet, but I backed up all my programs and data files and documents this afternoon to take with me in case I’m told to work from home. I can do some things from home, but not my programming…but with my backup I can load it on my work laptop at home and do almost all of it normally. And I have been creating some new programs lately…after a long dry spell. I like that the best. It makes the time go faster!

    I don’t really like using laptops, even thought I have several. And I don’t like using web clients. They feel like toys. I feel like I have to make my eyes chase around the screen to find the things I need to click on. I can’t count on them being in the same place every time the screens refresh. And I don’t like having to click on stuff instead of tabbing around the screen in a predictable fashion.Clicking on every little item feels really slow. Heck! Waiting for the screen to refresh REALLY IS SLOW, compared to the Windows clients I’m used to using.

    Last fall, there was this repetitive task I had to use the web client for (not really; they just said that), and it took 7 seconds for each record to appear before I could do the task. It makes me sleepy to have to wait that long. Even though our internet/ethernet is the fastest in town, and our computers are faster than we ever used to use, it’s annoying that actually using them feels slower than before we got the fast stuff. I guess embedding surveillance in every little action consumes a lot of power!

    One part of me says it would be nice to just have a 2 week stay-cation. But the other part of me says it will be a bear having to catch up when I go back to work. (That’s why I don’t take vacations… You have to work extra hard to get ready to leave… Then you have to work extra hard to catch when you get back!)

    My offspring only worked 2 hours today. Says they might not be open next week. Also, the company owner is “sick”. I asked what the symptoms were, but got no real answer.

    Oh, and I meant to mention I have a recipe for whole wheat soda bread that I found in a soup cookbook. It’s really heavy, but good with split pea soup, or what-have-you. My biggest problem with fresh bread is avoiding eating it all in one sitting!

    I always have to have the first piece of fresh bread with butter and honey. It doesn’t matter what kind of bread–biscuits, cornbread, machine bread, soda bread, etc. I’m actually looking forward to doing more baking if we have to stay home more.

  3. Power Grab says:

    I forgot to say about the hair coloring…I’ve heard rumors that they might require people “of a certain age” [you know that saying, don’t you? ;-) ] to stay home. But I’ve been told that if I have the color on my hair and wear makeup I can pass for 40-something. I probably would have to wear the skinny jeans, too.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @Piwer Grab:

    So… you gonna share that recipe?

    Yeah, there’s a broken theory making the rounds that instead of everyone staying in until the virus dies out, just have the at risk folks stay in. Let the younger folks get exposed and get over it “saving” the economy.

    This “has issues”…

    So grandparents don’t get to visit their kids or see their grandkids for a few years?

    How do old folks go to stores?

    30% to 50% of ALL cases experience loss of smell. Nobody knows yet if it is temporary.

    Some young folks do die. Many that don’t die say this was a hortible disease.

    Many survivors have lung damage such that a brief walk leaves them winded.

    The medical cost of dealing with 300 million sick is horrific. If you can do it at all.

    How will you keep caregivers in hospitals and old folks homes from passing it on?

    And more…

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve made a loaf using only 1/4 tsp of soda after looking at several other recipes. The rise looks fine and I’m hoping it will improve the flavor. I’ll find out after it cools. The prior loaf was good, but with a slightly alkaline flavor.

    Rather than waste milk, I used 3 oz milk and 3 measures of 1/2 tsp vinegar, 1.5 tsp total, then when the dough was still a bit dry and crumbly, dribbled in about 1/2 oz of water until the dough came together.

    I also cooked this loaf at 350 F for 35 minutes. It sounds hollow and feels right. We’ll also find out if the middle is right , again, when it cools. The color is more a light tan. I’m going to bump up to 375 F for the next cook in the hope of a better color. The prior loaf was slightly gummy in the center, but that could be that I was cutting it when still quite warm.

    For this loaf, I also skipped the entire kneading step. Just mixed it all together then turned it out into an oiled 6 inch cast iron skillet (cold), barely shaped with spoon and the oily fingers from spreading oil on the pan bottom, and sliced the top.

    This is, deliberately, a small one person loaf. For that reason, the cook time was shortened from the model recipe, but may still need some tuning. Why so small a loaf? Bread is best fresh, and refrigeration may be scarce during events requiring prepper stores. Then, under adverse circumstances, storing half a loaf might be challenging.

    Two people can share a loaf for a meal, or one person over two meals. It could make a meal for one with a few small sides and butter or olive oil.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Ok, the results are in:

    Flavor is better. Rise was still good. Crumb was good. Still a liitle underdone in the middle, but close. Next loaf will be 375 F for 40 minutes or 400 F for 35 minutes. I think the cold cast iron is using about 5 minutes to warm.

    I tried a slice with butter and jam. Very nice. Kind of half way between toast and a biscuit in texture and flavor. I may need to make a bigger loaf to try toasting it as these small slices would be lost in the toaster.

    As of now, this is my go-to bread for snacks and stews. Much faster and easier than yeast breads and only one bowl to clean up. I’m thinking of trying to mix in the skillet, then use a scrapper to form the loaf. Only a wipe of the skillet needed then. But it might stick without the oiled bottom…

    It is also nice to have an alternative to muffins and their demands on the egg supply. Part of the design goal in these recipes is minimal number of ingredients needed. I’m looking for “good enough minimalism” and using storable ingredients. Plus, when living out of stores, you want good enough to enjoy eating, but not so good you stuff yourself and run out :-)

  7. Power Grab says:

    Well, I found the cookbook, but it didn’t have the bread recipe in it. It’s probably in a cookbook that is in the big storage unit.
    Anyway, here is one that sounds similar:

    Traditional Irish Soda Bread (Brown Bread)
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes

    1-3/4 cups (265g/9 oz) whole wheat flour (fine or coarsely ground)
    1-3/4 cups (265g/9 oz) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    2 tablespoons (30g/1 oz) butter, cold
    1 egg
    1-2/3 cups (400 ml) buttermilk
    1 tablespoon oats

    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (215 degrees C).
    2 Mix together the flours, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs.
    3. In a separate jug, whisk the egg and buttermilk together (see note on how to make Buttermilk below).
    4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid, 3/4 at once, into the flour mixture.
    5. Using an open hand, bring the flour and liquid together to a loose dough. The dough should be quite soft, but not too sticky. You will then know if it needs more of the liquids. (Flour in different places reacts differently to added liquid.)
    6. Turn onto a floured work surface and gently bring the dough together into a round about 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) thick (8 inches by 8 inches).
    7. Place on a baking sheet dusted well with flour.
    8. Score the bread by making a deep cross on top.
    9. Glaze the bread with the leftover bit of buttermilk in your jug and dust the top with rolled oats.
    10. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and bake for 30 minutes more. When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.

    For every cup of Buttermilk needed, mix 1 cup of regular milk with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar. Mix and let it stand for a minimum of 30 minutes before using.


    I don’t usually have buttermilk around. I either soured fresh milk as above, or I keep a can of dry buttermilk powder in the fridge and use it with an appropriate amount of water.

    I don’t remember rubbing the butter into the flour. I might have cut it in using 2 knives. It’s been more than 40 years and I’ve slept since then. ;-)

  8. Power Grab says:

    Whenever I bake bread in a cast iron skillet, I always preheat the skillet with the fat in it. The dough sizzles when you drop it into the skillet. The crust on the bottom is exquisite!

    When I make cornbread in a skillet, I don’t use flour–just corn meal. My sister used to ask for it that way and put butter and sand plum jelly on it while it was hot.

    Speaking of sand plums…my grandmother told a story about how, during the Depression, she went to make a pineapple upside down cake. They didn’t have any pineapple, though. The only fruit she had in the cupboard was a jar of preserved sand plums. So she used the sand plums and put a lot of extra sugar in the bottom of the pan (sand plums are tart). She baked the cake as usual and turned it out on a plate. Granddaddy at some and told her to always make it with sand plums from then on, he liked it so much better!

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @Power Grab:

    Interesting idea on the upsidedown cake!

    I made a variation on this basic loaf where I added 1 Tbs of sugar and 1 Tbs of oil. MUCH better as a base for butter and jam! (The original better for soups & stews) For sandwich bread, it would need an egg to bind it tighter. (Or I need to experiment with kneading quick breads…) I made this one in a mini-loaf pan, but would need a double or triple size (of my one cup base) recipe for a big loaf. More experiments needed ;-)

    I may try a baking powder approach for quick sandwich bread…

  10. Power Grab says:

    I found this recipe last night:

    The ingredients remind me of plain French bread, but you just make a big, round loaf in a big pan like a Dutch oven with a lid. You don’t knead the dough.

    So now I have two interesting recipes to try out!

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