This is a day late, but most assuredly not a dollar short. Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, the one day of the year when everybody is Irish.
There’s one thing about St. Patrick’s Day 2012 that kind of rankles me. How come none of the myriad cable channels bothered to broadcast the “ultimate” Irish movie—even though the lead character is decidedly non-Irish—John Wayne’s, 1952 classic “The Quiet Man”?
I cooked up the traditional St. Patrick’s dinner yesterday—corned beef and cabbage. And, I even made Traditional Irish Soda Bread—dense and flavorful.
Like so many of my adventures in cooking, I started out by doing some research into several different recipes on the internet and found some interesting information about what traditional Irish soda bread is—and what it isn’t.
According to the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread (http://www.sodabread.info), soda bread never contains raisins, eggs, baking powder, sugar, shortening and certainly not yeast. Well, that should make it pretty simple. And it is.
The first recipe for traditional Irish soda bread was published by “Farmer’s Magazine” in London in 1836, after the potato famine led to massive migration. Soda bread recipes came to America with latter day immigrants. Interesting. But, let’s get to the baking.
Recipe: Traditional Irish Soda Bread
Summary: Not just for St. Patrick’s Day, this traditional Irish Soda Bread is dense and flavorful and rustic. Enjoy it especially with soups and stews.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (any salt works but sea salt adds extra cruch)
- 1 ¾ cups buttermilk (or 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 ¾ cups milk)
- Get out a big mixing bowl and your cake pans (if you don’t have a 9” pan, use an 8” pan; if you don’t have round cake pans, get out a baking sheet so you can plop the bread on that).
- If you’re adding vinegar to milk do this first and let it rest about 10 minutes.
- Turn oven on to 425
- Grease and flour the cake pan
- Put the dry ingredients in the bowl—flour, baking soda and salt—mix together to combine.
- Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk.
- Stir together until it makes a sticky dough. If it’s too wet, add a bit more flour; too dry add a bit more milk.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently—don’t overknead the dough; a minute will be just fine.
- Make a rounded mound of dough and put into the cake pan or onto the baking sheet. Cut a cross with a sharp, greased knife about ½ inch deep across the top of the loaf.
- If using a cake pan, put another pan on top.
- Put in the 425 oven for 30 minutes then remove the “lid” pan and let the loaf bake for another 10-15 minutes until the loaf is golden.
- Remove from oven, let it cool a bit and you’re ready to eat.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 50 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Culinary tradition: Irish
My rating 5 stars: ★★★★★ 1 review(s)
Enjoy this Traditional Irish Soda Bread. It’s dense and flavorful. Break the “quarters” that you’ve cut into the top so that you can slice or break pieces off to slather with butter and eat.
The Cheap Bastid Test: Well, 4 cups of flour cost maybe half a dollar and the other ingredients add maybe an quarter. So I made this bread for about $.75. It was $2.50 at the bakery at the grocery store. And the added bonus is that it filled our apartment with a wonderful aroma.
And that’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!