A Love For Irish Soda Bread
Of all the things I like about St. Patrick’s Day, I like Irish Soda Bread the best. The corned beef and cabbage is fine. The Guinness Ale is fine, too. But nothing beats a thick slice of freshly baked soda bread slathered with a fat layer of creamy butter. It is not all too clear to me why I only seem to eat Irish Soda Bread on or around St. Patrick’s day. It is so easy to make and I think it should eaten year round.
An Irish Soda Bread From Family
The Irish Soda Bread recipe I have came to me through the Irish wing of our family. It was a fairly recent addition, but through a significant relationship, a whole Irish presence has made itself known. And unlike the stereotypes, I have never heard them ask if the meal comes with potatoes? or heard them use the phrase – faster then snuff at a wake. I suppose there is still time.
An Irish Soda Bread With History
The Irish Soda bread recipe came from Nana Mary. It is one of those recipes that was passed down and tweaked a little here and there. It was a recipe where the exacting measures or measuring devices (Nana Mary used a tea cup to measure the Gold Medal flour) were never used but the outcome was perfected by the experience of the maker. Nana Mary made this bread weekly starting at the age of 9 and continued making the bread well into her nineties. She lived until she was 97 – a damn good run! I understand the exact taste of Nana Mary’s soda bread has yet to be duplicated, but its been pretty closely replicated. If we only had the pans she used.
Her full name iss Mary Lavelle – who married Patrick Cadigan and became Mary Cadigan. She was born the oldest of 10 children in Mullacroagh, County Mayo, Ireland. Although the recipe has been updated to use butter (and given some more exacting measures), Nana Mary originally used Crisco and Rumsford baking soda. Given that she lived until age 97, perhaps Crisco won’t do the damage we thought it would or there is something magic about Rumsford. The current recipe is actually baking soda free. Baking powder technology seems to have taken over.
So a big thank you to those who shared and a big thank you to Nana Mary for such delicious soda bread that continues to be made just like she did.
It is a pleasure to share Nana Mary’s Irish Soda Bread recipe. The video below shows all the steps needed to make her bread. Her recipe follows.
For you traditionalists, a traditional Irish soda bread recipe follows Nana Mary’s.
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 tsp of salt
- 3 tsp of baking powder
- 4 tbsp of cold, unsalted butter (originally Nana Mary used Crisco)
- 1/2 cup of white sugar
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- hot water
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Butter a 9 inch loaf pan.
- Boil enough water to cover the raisins. When the water is boiling, add the raisins to a small bowl and pour the water over the raisins. Let soak about 15 minutes. Drain and pat the raisins dry.
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.
- Cut the cold butter into small cubes. Add the butter into the flour mixture and cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture looks like sand. (You can use a food processor for this if you wish.)
- Add the white sugar to the flour mixture and stir it in.
- Add the raisins and stir well.
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs and milk.
- Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture stirring until well mixed.
- Pour /scrape all the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for about 45 minutes. The outside should be golden brown and a knife inserted into the center should come out clean.
- Let cool 5 minutes in the pan then turn onto cooling rack and cool completely.
- 4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
- 1 Teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 14 oz of buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees. Lightly grease and flour a cake pan.
- In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.
- Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)
- Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.
- Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the bastible pot). Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.
- Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.
Happy St. Patricks Day!
I hope you enjoy!
Keep Eating! Keep Innovating!
Do you like Irish Soda Bread? Do you prefer the classic? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.
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