Parmesan Herb Soda Bread
Parmesan herb soda bread is a delicious twist on my easy Irish soda bread recipe. Create a brand new flavor by simply adding Parmesan cheese and herbs, a perfect savory side to serve with any meal.
Parmesan herb soda bread is a cheesy, flavorful bread that has a soft texture. It’s a variation on my classic soda bread recipe, a very easy type of bread that is made with baking soda as the leavening agent instead of yeast. Traditional soda bread consists of only flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. This modern version also includes butter, which is cut into the flour mixture, to create a more tender, rich bread.
For a quick history lesson, check out this article on the History of Irish Soda Bread!
Here’s why you NEED to make this parmesan herb soda bread
- The flavorful combination of cheese and herbs make this bread irresistible.
- Quick and easy to prepare – there’s a reason it’s called quick bread!
- The top of this rustic bread is cheesy and crunchy while the inside is soft and fluffy.
- It can be hard to come up with new side dish ideas. This easy recipe can be added to your weekly rotation!
- Swap out the herbs and cheese for your own favorite combinations to make endless variations.
- This simple soda bread is perfect for first time bread makers.
INGREDIENT FUNCTIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS
- Baking Soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda): Soda bread gets its name from the baking soda that does all of the leavening in the recipe. You’ll notice the texture of soda bread is more like a scone instead of a yeasted bread.
- Flour: Flour gives baked goods structure. I recommend using all-purpose flour, but you can also swap some of the all-purpose for whole wheat flour for a different flavor.
For gluten free soda bread, substitute the same amount of all-purpose flour with a gluten free flour blend. I have had great success with this 1-to-1 gluten free flour blend.
- Butter: Butter helps a quick bread rise because of its water content. When butter melts in the oven, water evaporates off of it creating steam and an increased rise in your baked goods.
Use a non-dairy butter to make it vegan.
- Salt, Herbs, and Cheese: Herbs and cheese, as well as the salt, are the flavor stars of this bread! Swap the dried herbs with fresh herbs and swap the Parmesan cheese with your favorite flavor like cheddar cheese or monterey jack cheese.
Use a vegan cheese alternative if desired.
- Buttermilk: The best soda bread recipes call for buttermilk. Buttermilk adds moisture and binds the ingredients together. And, because buttermilk is cultured, it’s acidic and adds a delightful tang to this soda bread. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, make your own with this DIY buttermilk substitute.
DIY Buttermilk Substitute: Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Pour in enough whole milk until it measures 1 ⅓ cups. Stir together and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes before adding it to your dough. You can follow this same process with non-dairy milk.
Easy Irish Soda Bread: This recipe is the classic version of soda bread. No additional flavors are needed and it’s simply served with a pat of butter.
“Brown Bread” Soda Bread: Omit the cheese, herbs, and garlic powder. Reduce the all-purpose flour to 180 grams (1 ½ cups) and add 150 grams (1 ¼ cups) whole wheat flour. Toss 50 grams (½ cup) rolled oats in the flour/butter mixture before adding in the buttermilk. Brush the top with a bit of buttermilk and sprinkle with a few more oats before baking.
Currant and Caraway (this is a very traditional Irish combination and makes a sweet soda bread): Omit the cheese, herbs, and garlic powder. Add 50 grams (¼ cup) of granulated sugar to the dry ingredients. Stir in 1 tablespoon caraway seeds and 150 grams (1 cup) of currants (or raisins) before adding in the buttermilk.
How to make soda bread
The process of making homemade soda bread is very similar to that of making biscuits and scones. That’s because they utilize the very same mixing method, the Biscuit Mixing Method. This method involves cutting a solid fat (butter) into the flour mixture. This method serves two functions:
- The first purpose is to coat the flour with fat which acts as a barrier from the liquid that will be added later to slow gluten formation. This will keep your quick bread tender.
- The second purpose is to distribute small solid pieces of fat throughout the dough. These pieces of fat will melt in the oven, creating little pockets of flakiness throughout the final baked good.
This recipe for Parmesan soda bread starts with my easy soda bread recipe as a base where I simply add delicious flavors of cheese and herbs. Let’s get started!
How to make parmesan herb soda bread
Combine dry ingredients and cut in the butter
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, dried herbs, and garlic powder.
To the same bowl add the very cold, small diced butter to the bowl and cut into the flour mixture. To do this, press down on the fat with the wires of the pastry blender or the tines of a fork as you move it around the bowl. Continue cutting the fat into the flour until the butter resembles a coarse meal.
You can also use your clean fingers for this process. Don’t rush it, it will take a few minutes to work it all in.
Add the cheese and buttermilk
Whisk in the shredded Parmesan to the bowl while reserving a small amount for topping the dough. Stir in the buttermilk using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.
Liberally flour a clean countertop and transfer the dough onto the counter. Flour the top of the dough and your hands. Press the dough together with your hands until it’s in one mass – this is a very sticky dough.
Knead the dough gently a few times by pushing it forward with the heels of your hands and then bringing it back toward you and folding it over itself until you have a more cohesive dough. Only spend about 30 seconds on this to not overwork the gluten.
Shape the dough and bake
Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet and shape it into a disc that is about 2.5-inches (6 cm) thick. Use a sharp knife or bench knife to cut a deep X across the dough, going almost all the way through to the pan. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan cheese and any additional herbs you’d like over the top of the loaf.
Soda bread is a free form type of bread meaning that it is formed by your hands and not a baking pan however, you can also place the dough in a loaf pan and bake it up that way.
Bake the bread until it’s a deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the center. If desired, brush melted butter over the top and serve warm.
How to Store Homemade Soda Bread
Homemade bread is best eaten warm from the oven. However, leftover bread can be wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap once cooled and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. Refresh in the oven for a few minutes to re-warm.
MORE RECIPES FROM BAKER BETTIE!
If you enjoyed this recipe, you might like to try another savory quick bread recipe.
Here are some other festive, holiday favorites perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
- 360 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 56 grams (4 tablespoons, ½ stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 200 grams (2 cups) shredded Parmesan
- 320 grams (1 ⅓ cups, 320 milliliters) buttermilk, cold
- Position the oven rack to the center position. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Measure out your ingredients.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour (360 grams, 3 cups), salt (1 teaspoon), baking soda (1 teaspoon), dried oregano (1 teaspoon), dried rosemary (1 teaspoon), dried thyme (1 teaspoon), and garlic powder (½ teaspoon).
- Add the cold butter (56 grams, 4 tablespoons) to the bowl and cut through the flour mixture. To do this, press down on the fat with the wires of the pastry blender or the tines of a fork as you move it around the bowl. Continue cutting the fat into the flour until it is all about the size of pebbles and the mixture looks like a coarse meal.
- Whisk in the shredded Parmesan (use most of the 200 grams/ 2 cups but reserve a small bit to sprinkle on top).
- Add the cold buttermilk (320 grams, 1 ⅓ cup) and stir using a rubber spatula to stir until a soft dough forms.
- Liberally flour a work surface and transfer the dough to it. Flour the top of the dough and your hands. Gather it together into one mass.
- Knead the dough gently a few times by pushing it forward with the heals of your hands and then bringing it back toward you and folding it over itself until you have a more cohesive dough. Only spend about 30 seconds on this to not overwork the gluten.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and shape it into a disk that is about 2.5-inches (6 cm) thick.
- Use a sharp knife or bench knife to cut a deep X across the dough, going almost all the way through to the pan. Sprinkle additional shredded Parmesan over the top if desired.
- Bake for 26-30 minutes, until deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
- Brush melted butter over the top if desired.
If you don't have the individual herbs, swap them for 1 Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning blend.