Whole-wheat Irish Soda Bread with Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds and Raisins

Irish soda bread

I’m really frustrated with my school schedule this year, because most of my classes are at noon, which is right when I have lunch. Grr! I’m quite particular about the times that I eat.

So it’s tough to find something that I can carry in my bag and eat in class, partially because I’m not a big sandwich person. (Worked way too many years at Subway, is what.) If I have to eat in class, I like to have a hearty roll, a bit of cheese and an apple.

So I’m continually looking for something I can bake on the weekend and take to class. I really like muffins, but they’re too sweet and not very substantial for lunch. Today, I decided to make Irish soda bread with a few twists, and it came out effin’ awesome. I’m excited to pack this in my lunch this week.

Irish soda bread is great if you like to bake bread, but yeast breads are too much work. I tweaked this Cook’s Illustrated recipe with whole-wheat pastry flour, seeds and walnuts to add more protein. Whole wheat pastry flour is great, but sometimes tough to find–I think you could also use 2 cups of white and 2 cups of regular whole wheat flour, instead. You can also use 1 cup of cake flour in place of the white flour and cornstarch.

Kate’s Nutty Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread

1 cup white flour

3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup each of walnuts, pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and cornstarch. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and mash in with a fork (or your fingers, I found this worked better) until you have the texture of coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk until dough just begins to come together. Switch to a larger spatula and fold dough over a few times until it’s a ball–just a couple times, it isn’t supposed to be smooth. Add in your raisins and nuts while folding the dough.

Place dough on a greased baking sheet and pat into a nice round shape about 2 or 3 inches thick. Score an “X” into the top using a knife. Bake until golden brown and a knife comes out clean, or about 40 minutes.

After you take the loaf out of the oven, melt the last tablespoon of butter and pour it on the top. Let the loaf cool for one hour, then serve.

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