Martha Stewart Elevates Irish Soda Bread With Wheat Bran

Martha Stewart appears between wheat bran and Irish soda bread
Martha Stewart appears between wheat bran and Irish soda bread - Static Media/Shutterstock/Getty

Irish soda bread is a scone-like quick bread made with baking soda as a leavener instead of yeast and baked into a round loaf with a cross shape carved into the top. Traditionally, the bread consists of just four main ingredients: flour, buttermilk, salt, and baking soda, and either currants or raisins as add-ins. However, modern iterations of this dish incorporate other ingredients, such as nuts or honey.

Martha Stewart's Irish soda bread is another example of a recipe that includes extra ingredients — in this case, unprocessed wheat bran. Wheat bran refers to the exterior layers of wheat grain kernels. It can add more complexity to the flavor with its subtly sweet nuttiness. It will also change up the texture, making it heartier and even a bit crunchier. Alongside the changes in taste and consistency, it provides health benefits. Wheat bran has shown to promote heart health and digestive health and is a good source of fiber. To get the most out of wheat bran, reach for the unprocessed version -- which means it hasn't gone through milling or refining, which could strip it of its nutrients.

These are the reasons that Stewart chooses to include wheat bran in her bread. In a video shared on her YouTube page, she explains, "It adds a very nice flavor to the Irish soda bread. So we're making it healthier and better for you."

Read more: 23 Whole Foods Baked Goods, Ranked

How To Add Wheat Bran And Customize Irish Soda Bread

Close up of sliced Irish soda bread
Close up of sliced Irish soda bread - Photogress/Getty Images

If you want to try including wheat bran, you can follow Stewart's recipe or add it to your own favorite soda bread recipe. To add it to your own recipe, you can either add 2 tablespoons to the recipe, leaving the rest as is, or substitute some of the flour for wheat bran. For example, Tasting Table's recipe for Irish brown soda bread calls for 2 cups of flour, so you could choose to use half a cup of wheat bran and a cup and a half of flour.

Then, after you've tried out the wheat bran method, you may be wondering if there are other methods to elevate the bread. One of these other options is to make the Irish soda bread healthier by using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose white flour — or by using a blend of the two. Whole wheat flour has more fiber and more vitamins than its all-purpose counterpart.

If you're solely concerned about taste, you can replace the raisins with chocolate chips to satisfy a sweet tooth. Or, you could cook up a honey oatmeal soda bread. For a more savory take on the bread, you can add walnuts, either alongside the raisins or in place of them. You could even make it into a cheddar and herb Irish soda bread to really switch things up.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.