I'm Elyse. Some of my most vivid and cherished memories are around a table with friends and family, and I want that for you, too.
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There have been two mildly cold weeks here in Los Angeles, causing us all to lose our minds. In our haste to pull out ancient scarves and tucked-away beanies, we sort of forget that many parts of the world experience a full season of winter every year—the horror! And while my wardrobe is not prepared for the chill, my food preferences certainly are. From oatmeal and chili to slow-roasted veg and hot chocolate, my body has been preparing for cozy season all year long.
On a dreary weeknight, the last thing I want to do is make a production out of dinner prep, so reaching for a can of chili is a quick win. If I ever want to jazz up said can of chili, having a quick and easy soda bread recipe in my back pocket is greater than gold.
This cheddar and jalapeno soda bread comes together like a dream and only has a few basic ingredients. Unlike yeasted bread, which needs some prep time to develop gluten and gas for a beautiful rise and delicate texture, soda bread uses baking soda as a fast-acting leavening agent. This means you could go from wanting bread to in the oven in 10 minutes or less.
The caveat to the rapid timeframe is that the resulting texture tends to be denser, with a tighter crumb. To avoid the bread falling into a crumbly, gummy mess, we are bringing an unsung baking hero to the party: Greek yogurt. Having all the tang of buttermilk but with the bonus of a little extra fat, greek yogurt is providing the much-needed hydration and acidity. This acidity activates the baking soda and leads to a soda bread that is tender and perfectly risen. Fresh from the oven, slathered in butter, and dipped into chili, there is nothing better.
Looking for other bread recipes? Give these a try:
Hearty and studded with cheddar and jalapeno, this soda bread acts as my shield against a rainy weeknight.
3 1/4C all purpose flour
3/4C rye flour
1 1/4t kosher salt (half as much if using iodized)
1 1/2t baking soda
1/2t ground paprika
1/2t cracked black pepper
2C + 1T plain whole fat Greek yogurt
3/4C cheddar, coarsly grated
1/4C jalapeno, chopped (about 1 jalapeno)
1 – 2t water, if needed
Preheat the oven to 425F. Place a piece of parchment on the bottom of a dutch oven. (If you don’t have a dutch oven, a cast iron skillet or 9″ cake pan works.)
In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, salt, baking soda, paprika, and pepper.
Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add the greek yogurt, cheddar, and jalapeno. Stir together until a clumpy dough forms.
Dump onto a clean work surface and knead until a cohesive ball forms. If there are still dry bits that aren’t incorporating, add in some water, a teaspoon at a time until everything just holds together. This isn’t like yeasted dough where you are looking for a smooth, elastic ball. Instead, we are just going for holding it’s shape.
Pat down the top of the dough ball slightly and then move it to your prepared dutch oven. Using a sharp knife, cut a large ‘X’ in the middle to ensure an even rise.
Cover the dutch oven (if you are using a cast iron or cake pan, tent it with foil) and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the pot and continue baking until it is a deep golden brown, about another 15 minutes. (Or, if you have an ancient oven like mine, 17 – 20 minutes.)
Allow to cool in the pot for 10 minutes. Take it out and allow it to cool for a further 20 minutes on a wire rack. Enjoy!