Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day - Irish Bread

A day early I know but since this is a busy week on the calendar I figured now was better than never (a new mantra perhaps?) Also, I wanted to share a recipe for Irish bread. I happen to love Irish bread. All Irish bread - and believe me there are lots of different kinds. The day my Dad's photo was on the top of the Boston Globe obituary page I got a real lesson in just how many kinds of Irish bread there are in the world. My sister brought the first loaf - some brown bread - great with butter and a bit of smoked salmon. I'm not sure who put the next package on the table next to the front door - it was a light colored loaf more like a tea bread with just a few raisin in it and a glaze on it. After that they came thick and heavy: round, square, and loaf shaped; some the weight of footballs and others the weight of cement garden gnomes and everything in between. They had raisins, currents, caraway seeds, and/or candied fruit. One even had dried cranberries...we were in Massachusetts after all....

My nephew Johnathon took it upon himself to be the taste taster. After multiple cups of tea and lots of butter and jam he proclaimed Mrs. Riordan's loaf to be his favorite. (just slightly sweet with raisins and no seeds.) We told her at the funeral and she had to leave the viewing room - not the right place for such a big smile. And before you ask, no I don't have her recipe. I do have my favorite though. This makes a large round loaf that isn't too heavy but not too light....a Goldilocks loaf!

Irish Soda Bread
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cups dark raisins
  • 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease well a 2-quart round oven proof casserole dish.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. With a pastry blender or 2 knives used scissors fashion cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds. In a medium bowl, beat eggs slightly. Remove 1 tablespoon of egg and set aside. Stir buttermilk into eggs then add to flour and stir until flour is moistened. Dough will be sticky.

Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and with floured hands, kneed dough about 10 strokes. Shape dough into a ball and place in casserole dish. With a sharp knife cut a 4 inch cross about 1/4 inch deep across the center of the ball. brush dough lightly with reserved egg. Bake dough about 1 hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. The top will look done before the inside is cooked. cool on wire rack 10 minutes then remove bread from the dish and cool completely on rack.


Alternate directions: If you have a strong mixer, first add the dry ingredients and the butter, then add the egg and buttermilk. Kneed dough in the mixer for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and roll into a ball. Place in the casserole dish. With this method the caraway seeds are broken up very small so yo get the flavor without some of the "seediness." Now this makes a big loaf but it is great toasted the next day or even in a bread pudding. (With a bit of Irish Whiskey sauce over the top!)

Have a great St. Patrick's Day!

16 comments:

*karendianne. said...

"Now is better than never!" very cool. Sounds yummy. My stoves malfuntioning. No bread for this Irish girlie.

sewprimitive karen said...

That sounds so good.

Holly said...

Ooh, that does sound good. I'll try that one for sure.

Karen said...

Sounds yummy! I must write down this recipe for my sister. She makes wonderful bread. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

SubeeSews said...

As I am part Irish too I must try that bread. I have sourdough breadstarter in the fridge...been feeding it for years. Makes yummy bread.
XOXOX Subee

Jenny in Belgium said...

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I always bake my own bread so I will definitely try this one out.
Happy St. Patrick's day to you.

KimP said...

YUM!!! This sounds fantastic. Now I just need for find someone to make this for me.

Mary said...

I've never made it but I love Irish Soda Bread! Can't wait to try some in Dublin next month. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Sharon said...

Happy St. Paddy's Day to you too! I'll have to try your recipe - it sounds good! Thanks for sharing. This lass has never made Irish soda bread - can you belive it?

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

Happy St Patricks day to you!

julieQ said...

Thank you for the recipe...must try it!

AnnieO said...

I read your blog post last night and the recipe sounded great--I believe someone brought that bread to the St. Patty's Day party I went to tonight---it was the most delicious Irish Soda Bread ever. The caraway seeds, raisins, perfect crust. It was almost a meal in itself! Thanks for sharing.

McIrish Annie said...

I have yet to find one that I like so I will give your irish soda bread a try!

Julie said...

Just made the bread. Yummy!

I also appreciated the MS info. I have a family member recently diagnosed and the info was helpful.

belinda said...

OOUUUU...YUM...BREAD!!! Your recipe seems very do-able..thanks!!

GRACE said...

i also got my recipe from the boston globe cookbook, no eggs, but luscious bread. we scarfed down two loaves of it in no time already this week. just enough buttermilk left for two more loaves to bake this weekend..yummy!