Monday, March 3, 2014

A delicious soda bread for St. Patrick's Day

Since Saint Patrick's Day is on the 17th of this month, you may enjoy making this delicious Irish Soda Bread that my husband makes for us from time to time. 

Like us, you may be surprised to learn that soda bread did not originate with the Irish. According to the Association of the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread, soda bread is linked back to the Native Americans who used soda ash to leaven their bread. Soda Bread became popular among the poor in Ireland because it was easy to put on the table and used soft wheat flour. Soft wheat flour does not use yeast, which was not always easy to obtain, so what you have is a very satisfying quick bread. 

The original bread did not contain raisins (we were wondering about that) so our recipe was dressed up. Here is an original recipe from Ireland. The association mentioned earlier said that these measurements are American. They also suggest using cake flour or pastry flour because it is a soft wheat flour. They also suggest Odlums, an Irish flour that you can find online.

Brown Bread

  • 3 cups (12 oz) of wheat flour
  • 1 cup (4 oz) of white flour (do not use self-rising as it already contains baking powder and salt)
  • 14 ounces of buttermilk (pour in a bit at a time until the dough is moist)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (Good ol' baking soda)
  • 2 ounces of butter if you want to deviate a bit.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees.  Lightly grease and flour a cake pan.  In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients. Rub in the butter until the flour is crumbly.

Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.  Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)

Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.
Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the bastible pot).  Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped to show it is done.
Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.
Let cool and you are ready to have a buttered slice with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

Here is the recipe my husband used from In Mike's version, he substituted brown sugar for the white sugar.

Irish Soda Bread
recipe image
Submitted By: Penguin Lady
Photo By: heathermmm
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour 25 Minutes
Servings: 8
"A delicious and easy recipe."
1/2 cup white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch round cast iron skillet or a 9 inch round baking or cake pan.
2.In a mixing bowl, combine flour (reserving 1 tablespoon), sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, raisins and caraway seeds. In a small bowl, blend eggs, buttermilk and sour cream. Stir the liquid mixture into flour mixture just until flour is moistened. Knead dough in bowl about 10 to 12 strokes. Dough will be sticky. Place the dough in the prepared skillet or pan and pat down. Cut a 4x3/4 inch deep slit in the top of the bread. Dust with reserved flour
3.Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 65 to 75 minutes. Let cool and turn bread onto a wire rack.

Let me know in the comments if you try it. We thought it was delicious.

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