Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Everyone in the blogging world is posting Irish recipes today, so I might as well join in with a family recipe for Irish soda bread. This is my maternal grandfather’s recipe, which I’m pretty sure he got from his Irish mother. It’s a little different from the traditional version which is usually made with currants or raisins and has a slightly sweet flavor. In my family we’ve always preferred this savoury version to eat with stew or soup.
Irish soda bread is super quick and easy to make. The acid in the buttermilk reacts to the baking soda to create the lift that you’d normally get by using yeast, so you can knock out a loaf of this bread in about 45 mins.
If you wanted to make a sweeter version – which I’ve done in the past – simply double the amount of honey in the mix and add raisins, currants, or any other dried fruit you want to incorporate. You can add up to a cup of diced dried fruit before it starts to affect how the dough holds together. (My favorite sweet version has golden raisins and some minced candied ginger in it.)
But today I stuck with the savoury version and added some roughly chopped scallion and a little bit of minced garlic.
Here’s the recipe:
Irish Soda Bread
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 10 generous slices
3.5 cups all purpose flour (or you can use half whole grain and half regular)
1 heaping tsp baking soda
a generous pinch of salt
1/2 cup of chopped scallion tops
crushed or minced clove of garlic (optional)
1 large egg
1.5 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 350°F
Mix together 3 cups of the flour, the soda, and the salt.
Whisk the egg and the honey into the buttermilk.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until a dough starts to form.
Dust a cutting board or countertop with some of the remaining flour and turn the dough out on the cutting board.
Continue to work bits of flour into the dough until you have a loose, shaggy ball that just holds together (you want to it be a little bit sticky still, but not so sticky that you can’t lift it or get it off your fingers). You might not use all the rest of the flour and that’s ok.
Shape it into a slight oval shape and place on a greased pan or shallow casserole. I like to use my cast iron when baking soda bread as it helps create a nice crispy bottom crust.
Bake in the oven for 35 mins or until the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it. If it looks like the top is getting too brown, loosely cover it with a sheet of foil to prevent burning.
Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 mins before slicing.
Serving size: 1 generous slice
Calories: 185 | Fat: 2g | Carbs: 35g | Fiber: 2g | Protein: 6g