Happy almost St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of the holiday, a few friends and I got together for an artistic viewing of The Leprechaun accompanied by Guinness Stew and Irish potatoes. I decided to enhance our celebration of Jennifer Aniston’s motion picture debut with some homemade Soda Bread.
I made this bread last year along with some delicious corned beef and cabbage. This bread is not the sweet confection dotted with raisins that you find in the supermarket–an American invention which the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread insists is, at the least, a corruption of the Irish original.
So what is Irish Soda Bread? It’s a simple quick bread that would have graced the dinner table in any Irish home. It is a basic recipe consisting of flour, bread soda, buttermilk, and salt. My recipe is a variation on the original from this Irish Cookbook.
In addition to the basic flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and salt, this recipe also calls for 1 egg and 2 tbs of butter (blasphemous to the purists, I know, but it does create a really moist bread, which, when dipped in stew, tastes like a delicious, thick dumpling).
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon baking-soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups (about) buttermilk
- 1 egg
Sift the dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter. Create a well in the flour mixture and then pour the buttermilk/egg mixture into it. Gather dough into ball (this dough will be WET, but don’t worry, that’s a good thing). Turn out onto lightly flour surfaced and knead just until dough holds together, about 1 minute.
Shape dough into a round. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cut 1-inch-deep X across top of bread, extending almost to edges. Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer bread to rack and cool completely.
FYI: If you don’t have any buttermilk, you can substitute regular milk with lemon juice. For 1 tbs of lemon juice add enough milk to make one cup, then let sit for at least 15 mins. The milk will look curdled which means that it worked.
What are you doing to celebrate St. Paddy’s? Lafayette has a surprising lack of Irish pubs, so it looks like this will have to do for us this year (I think everyone is just paraded out from Mardi Gras!)