clodagh bread


For like the last 10+ years I've made Irish Soda bread each year for St Patrick's Day. I've really pared back the baking in recent years - but there were some years that I shipped out 8 or so loaves. This year I think I only have 4 loaves on my list - and one belongs to me. But, last week when I was tearing through some magazines I came across this run of recipes for St. Patrick's Day ... and they all looked really great.

... But this clodagh bread captured my attention. When I tore out the recipe, I neglected to save the picture but I remember it being kind of an enchanting rustic loaf of bread. Irish soda bread feels country and rustic. For pretty much no good reason, Clodagh bread does not. It's perhaps in part because I still am not sure how to actually say "clodagh".

Some things that are really unique about this bread?
  • 7 ingredients - of which 2 are types of flour. You could probably make this bread right now ... if you have whole milk. Because of the lack of fat via shortening or butter, I think the whole milk and whole milk yogurt is actually important.
  • Glaze. I was really questioning whether or not I was doing this right - but I painted the entire loaf pretty aggressively with the yogurt milk mixture. After 30 minutes in the oven, the loaf gets this incredible shine that my bread has never had before.
After mixing the ingredients, my dough was much drier than I expected. If I had more whole milk or yogurt, I would have liked to add a little more in to pull the dough together better. I was pretty worried that the bread would be very dry - but the glaze adds a great deal of unexpected moisture. It's absolutely required. I'm still going to make Irish Soda Bread this year but it's nice to have another traditional Irish recipe in my repertoire.
Here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Into a large bowl, combine the two types of flour, baking soda, sea salt and rosemary. Ideally, you'd sift the flours together but life isn't always ideal - just combine them as you would.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 3/4 cups milk and 1 cup yogurt. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the well in the flour mixture. Combine either with a wooden spoon or by using a dough hook on a stand mixer. 
  3. Using lightly floured hands, dump the dough on the counter. I decided to split the loaf into two for easier sharing. Shape the dough into a round loaf and transfer to a baking sheet. 
  4. Cut a large X into the top of the dough. Cut about an inch through for the X (or up to 2/3 of the way through the loaf).
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tbsp. milk and 2 tbsp. yogurt. Using a pastry brush, coat the bread with the milk and yogurt mixture. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375° and bake until the top is dry and deep golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, at least 2 hours.
Shopping List (adapted from this original recipe)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. flaky sea salt
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. whole milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. plain whole-milk yogurt

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