Sunday, March 15, 2009

Recipe for Agave-Sweetened 100% Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

Whole Wheat Irish Soda BreadWhen you're going through rough times, it's interesting how your normal routine can feel very comforting. My stepmother passed away on Tuesday, so I've been taking a break from blogging. But today there wasn't much on the family schedule, and I woke up wanting to post this recipe for Agave-Sweetened Irish Soda Bread so readers could make it for St. Patrick's Day. Actually, the routine of writing a blog post sounded rather nice after days on hold waiting for family members to arrive for funeral services on Monday. I'll only be able to attend SXSW one day, but I'm still going to be part of the panel on food blogging, so I won't get back to the blog until later next week. Thanks to readers and friends who have left supportive comments or sent notes. Your kind words have been greatly appreciated.

I did experiment with Whole Wheat and Oatmeal Irish Soda Bread last year, and made some for my dad and stepmother when I went to their house to cook for them, something I had the pleasure of doing on Tuesdays for the last few years. That memory of making Irish Soda bread at their house was nice to think about while I was making this new version, slightly sweet from the agave nectar and delicious. I wish I could have made it for them this Tuesday.

I liked using whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe, but you could use other types of whole wheat flour. Mix whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda in plastic bowl. (Mix the dry ingredients more thoroughly than I did so you don't have specks of baking soda showing on the finished bread!)

Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and agave nectar. I beat the egg first, then whisked in the other ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, and mix with a fork until ingredients are combined.

Shape the loaf on parchment paper, then bake at 375F/190C for 20-25 minutes.

Agave-Sweetened100% Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
(Makes one small loaf, recipe adapted slightly from Whole Wheat Irish Soda bread at A Mingling of Tastes. This is not true Irish Soda Bread, which only contains flour, salt, soda, and buttermilk, but it's very tasty.)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or use other whole wheat flour, but this flour gives a nice delicate crumb)
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
3 T agave nectar (I used amber, could also use honey)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. In medium-sized bowl combine whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well.

In smaller bowl, beat egg with wire whisk, then whisk in buttermilk and agave nectar. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and use a fork to mix until ingredients are combined. (The dough will be loose and wet-looking compared to regular bread dough.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, scrape dough out onto the paper, and shape into an oval or circle a few inches high. (I wet a rubber scraper and used it to shape the loaf.) Bake at 375F/190C for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. (Start checking after 20 minutes. I baked the bread in this photo for 23 minutes, and it was starting to get fairly brown on the bottom.)

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South Beach Suggestions:
Using low-glycemic agave nectar and all whole wheat flour makes this bread a great choice for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet. Butter isn't recommended for South Beach, but you could splurge if you make it on St. Patrick's Day. Peanut butter would be great on this.

More Irish Soda Bread to Try:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
White Whole Wheat and Oatmeal Irish Soda Bread from Kalyn's Kitchen
Irish Soda Bread Recipes from BlogHer
Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread from A Mingling of Tastes
Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread with Millet from Karina's Kitchen
Irish Soda Bread Muffins from Kitchen Parade
(Want even more Irish Soda Bread recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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More to Chew On:


  1. aww kalyn.. i'm sorry to hear about your stepmother. my condolences.


  2. Sorry to hear about your stepmother.

    Soda bread is one of my favorites and I love this time of year b/c it's the perfect excuse to make some!

  3. Kalyn...I so understand you and what you are going through right now. After mom passed away this past July my blog began in renewed vigour and I found myself baking and baking....mostly bread and buns...something my mom could do effortlessly with her large worn hands...even in her 80's. I am still learning...but the routine, the smells, the sight of those comforting 'home' things make us feel good don't they. Still thinking of you then this next week if the funeral is on Monday...take care. Let us know how you are doing a future post.

  4. Kalyn, sorry to hear about your loss! I can tell you from my own experience when I lost my grandmother back in 2007 that it was the routine and my get away to to the blog that kept me above water.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! Hugs!

  5. Hi - I am a 42 year old sahm, homeschooler and recent kidney/dialysis patient. I am trying to lose weight to get on the transplant list. I was a vegetarian before I started but now they keep saying EAT MEAT! and I'm wondering hot to do that and eat all the protein requirements. I'm researching SBD as it might be just the plan! I hope to get ahold of a book soon but until then was wondering if you knew where I could read a basic outline of the plan?

  6. Thanks Pearl.

    Sharon, loved this slightly sweet version.

    Trish, thanks.

    Becky, I wish you well, but I just left my stepmother's funeral and now I'm sitting in the airport on the way to a meeting, so I think you'll have to use google to find a description of South Beach. Should not be hard to find.

  7. I'm sorry to hear about your step mum, please know we are thinking of you...keep in touch xx

  8. This looks great...I will definitely try it. I've never used agave nectar, but I'm a big fan of honey and will probably use that. I also love the fact that I live in the same valley that you do, Kaylyn, and don't have to adjust anything for altitude changes! Thanks for all of your healthy recipes and thoughts and prayers to you and your family right now.

  9. That loaf looks lovely, and I'm sure your family enjoyed it. I have agave nectar in the pantry, but haven't tried it yet. This looks like an easy way to get started.

  10. Lesley, Anniebird, TW and Anne T. thanks for nice thoughts about my stepmother and the recipe.

    (Anne, I don't share that view of agave nectar, and aren't going to post links that lead to such information, especially since my recipes use only a small amount of it. I think if you look for it, you'll find just as much information claiming Agave is a good product. Definitely I think people should make up their own minds about things, so feel free to use honey if you prefer.)

  11. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Looks really yummy, healthy and easy to do!

  12. What a nice easy recipe. Thank you Kalyn - I'm going to make this now. :)

  13. Kalyn, Thanks for the recipe. I'd heard of Irish Soda Bread, but never tried it. I keep looking for ways to keep our South Beach Menu interesting so I found the link on your site for Spicy Braised Cabbage with Italian Sausage (of course, I used Turkey Italian Sausage), and then I decided to make this bread as well.

    That said, I'm a pretty good cook, but not much of a baker, yet I like to sneak over to the dark side once in awhile. Then, I discovered that I had whole wheat flour, but no pastry flour. I decided to experiment - great for cooking, not always successful when baking, but I decided I'd try and if it was a loss, I'd just hide it before my husband saw it and got his chuckle for the day!

    The only other flour that I had on hand was soy flour so I gave it a try along with the Whole Wheat. I'd like to be able to tell you the exact measurements that I used, but I got distracted and actually lost track! At first, my mixture was much too thin. But this is where I say thank you so much for your wonderful photos! I was able to look at your photos and get an idea of what my dough should look like. I just added a little extra of both flours until I got the consistency I needed.

    The result was delicious bread with a nice thick consistency, but a smoother top. The Agave added a wonderful sweetness!
    A nice dinner, great bread and a glass of wine (instead of the traditional beer) and I told my husband that it was an Irish Dinner ala South Beach, with a kick.

    Thanks again and I hope you and your family are well.

  14. My condolences, Kalyn. Your soda bread recipe looks wonderful and easy to make. I've yet to pick up some agave nectar but your recipe is one more reminder that I need to do so.

    All the best!

  15. My thoughts are with you, dear friend. I can imagine making this bread brought you some comfort and I'm glad for that. I plan on making your great recipe this weekend and know I will be thinking of you when I do.

  16. Hope you had a wonderful trip! The bread looks really nice!

  17. My thoughts are with you as you cope with your loss. Thank you for bringing such joy to all of us all of the time, and even during your time of grief, to bring this amazing soda bread to us. It is heaven and will become a special feature on our upcoming holiday feasts.

  18. I haven't kept up on comments here very well since I went to SXSW right from the funeral, but thanks to everyone.

  19. So sorry about your stepmother. My thoughts are with you. Your post has made me determined to try agave nectar.

  20. This is my new favorite bread recipe, especially since I don't have a bread machine. It's so easy to make, it's delicious, and beautiful. Thanks!

  21. Made this yesterday- very good and hearty. Had it with some eggs this morning for a mostly South Beach friendly breakfast- delicious toasted!

  22. Betty, glad to hear you liked it!


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