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Aside from the corned beef and cabbage, I wanted to make something different to also honor the Irish. A while back I saw a segment on Ina Garten’s show about an Irish Soda Bread and thought why not give that a try. She made it look so easy and tasty. So, I ventured online to find the recipe and that is when I discovered what she made was not oh-so-traditional.

A sweet, modernized version of the Soda Bread.

As it turns out, soda bread was not created by the Irish, but rather heavily adopted in the mid to late 1800s due to the increased poverty and hunger that rampaged the towns after the potato crop failure. Using very few ingredients, (bicarbonate of soda, flour, sour milk and salt) they were able to make this quick bread and bring it to the table easily.

Today we see lots of soda bread recipes that contain butter, egg, sugar and fruit, but these are considered more of a “cake” than the real soda bread of the 19th and 20th centuries. Sure the sweet stuff, like Ina Garten’s, are quite tasty and perfect for a brunch setting, but they are not traditional in any sense.

So today, as you make your corn beef and cabbage (which, by the way, was a tradition started in America by Irish immigrants and not really Ireland-Irish), make a quick traditional soda bread and soak up some history.

Traditional Soda Bread

2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
Makes 6-inch diameter round loaf.

1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. The dough will still be quite moist.
3. Turn out the dough onto a generously floured surface. Knead only a couple times, enough to bring the dough into a round.
4. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a large enough baking pan and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes.
5. After 20 minutes, remove the top pan and cook uncovered in the oven for another 15-20 minutes. You know your bread is done if you tap on the back and you hear a ‘hollow’ sound.

Mix all ingredients together.

*****

Form into a round and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.


Cover soda bread with another pan. Cook covered in preheated 375F oven for 20 minutes. Remove cover and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

*****

*****

Sweet ‘Soda Bread’ (also known as Spotted Dog)

This is truly a wonderful recipe for breakfast, brunch or afternoon snack. It has a wonderful hint of orange and the fruit adds to the sweetness as well as being tart. I must admit though, it’s more like a scone or biscuit, so I can see why soda bread purists protest to calling this a soda bread.

2 cups flour
2 tbsp white sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
3 tbsp cold butter
1 tsp orange zest
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
½ cup dried cranberries, raisins or other dried fruit.
Makes 6 or 8-inch diameter round loaf.

1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Combine and whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or two forks.
3. In a large measuring cup, measure out buttermilk and stir in egg and orange zest. Add the wet mixture to your bowl with dry ingredients.
4. Turn out the dough onto a generously floured surface. Knead only a couple times, enough to bring the dough into a round.
5. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a large enough baking pan and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes.
6. After 20 minutes, remove the top pan and cook uncovered in the oven for another 15-20 minutes. You know your bread is done if you tap on the back and you hear a ‘hollow’ sound.


Mix dry and wet ingredients as directed and add your dry fruits.

*****

After lightly kneading, form into a round and place on parchment lined baking sheet.

*****

Cover soda bread with another pan. Cook covered in preheated 375F oven for 20 minutes. Remove cover and cook for another 20 minutes.

*****

ENJOY!

*****

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