Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Ireland, 2001: courtesy of codebitch

I have always loved the dry and crumbly nature of an Irish Soda Bread.  It’s barely sweet, fairly dry at the crust, moist near the center, and just plain lovely.  Problem is that the way my family recipe read was not very healthy so I set out to re-make the recipe and what I’ve published below is what I’ve used for a few years now.  I’m happy with it.

This bread is typically served, in my family, as an accompaniment to corned beef dinner.  Since there’s so much food, very little of the bread gets eaten at this meal, and boy am I glad because leftovers are fantastic with a cup of tea as a snack, or warmed and buttered, sometimes toasted even.

This loaf freezes very well, so if you’re afraid to make it because you don’t need such a large loaf at once- don’t be.  I’ve made this full recipe for myself before and quartered the baked loaf, and frozen three sections for future use.  Just pull it out a few hours ahead of when you want to eat it and it’ll thaw quite nicely in the fridge or on the counter.

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg at room temperature

1 ½ cups low fat buttermilk*

½ cup honey

1 cup golden raisins (sometimes I use a combination of different types of raisins- Thompson, red flame, and golden, and sometimes I add currants, cherries and/or cranberries too)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 & grease a 9-inch round cake pan
  • Mix together flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda .  Add raisins and stir.  Add egg, oil and honey and stir.  Gradually add buttermilk until you have a firm, but not stiff, dough (it will be slightly sticky to the touch),  and you may not end up using all of the buttermilk
  • Put the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for about 2 minutes (until it becomes smooth)
  • Flatten the dough into a 9-inch round and put it into the greased cake pan
  • Cut a cross on the top of the loaf, in the center, with a sharp knife

pre-baked loaf

  • Bake for 40-50 minutes

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand (as I never do) and you don’t care to buy it just for this one recipe, you can make your own in 5 minutes by adding one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk.  Let it sit for 5 minutes and use.

Irish soda bread

J