I’ll be honest, the only memory I have of Irish soda bread is my grandma making it, with raisins or currants, and it being very dense (not really a “foodie” item…LOL). I’m not a fan of cooked fruit and as a child I don’t remember thinking it was FABULOUS…but it’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, so I thought I’d give it a go! I’m game for anything! Unfortunately I don’t have my grandma’s recipe, so I asked my Dublin friend, Gina, to share her recipe. Apparently every family has their version of soda bread. She had two of them…white or brown…and I made the brown one. I think it’s a must to serve it with Irish butter and I’ll be honest, my memory of it being dense was not a lie…still pretty dense (I might have taken it out too soon?…and need to perfect my timing), but I think it was delish, made my house smell warm & cozy and so easy! Not bad for my first try!
Not only did Gina give me the recipe below, but she also added some important Irish St. Patrick’s Day trivia that you should know…
- “If you want to be truly Irish about St Patrick’s Day: It’s NEVER called Patty’s Day for short here in Ireland. Patty is a woman’s name. It’s called Paddy’s Day!
(no ‘St’ used) Or we say, colloquially, just one word: ‘Paddy’s’ …eg – “we’re off school for Paddy’s” “What are your plans for Paddy’s?” “I’ll be in ?? on Paddy’s” (the word night is implied there, & some venue / house)
And NOBODY but NOBODY eats corned beef here on St Patrick’s Day. We barely eat it at any other time of the year either!! Ham or bacon is traditional. Beef was expensive, and the landlords would have had that. Not the rest of us!
- Btw, don’t forget to add onto your post that Ireland will be playing England in rugby on St Patrick’s Day! (my side-note: looks like you can possibly stream it on BBC sports…or just go to an Irish pub somewhere) Every single heart will be in every single mouth – we’ve already won the 6 Nations championship last weekend (beat Scotland, Wales, France, Italy) because England is so behind in points. But on Saturday we’re playing England to win the Triple Crown (beat Scot, Wales, ,Eng) AND the Grand Slam (win the 6 Nations + Triple Crown)”
Brown Soda Bread (hers was in lbs/grams/liters..I’ve converted as best I could)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2 cups plain flour
1-3/4 to 2 cups whole wheat flour (called wholemeal in Ireland/Europe)
(….side-note: Her recipe is 1 lb of each flour and with the conversion I started with 2 cups and had to add a bit more buttermilk, so I’d say start with 1-3/4 cups and increase if needed)
1 level teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine baking sugar (called caster sugar in Ireland/Europe)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups buttermilk (Gina said full fat, no reduced fat here…but I went to three stores and apparently we only have reduced fat…what???…sorry Gina)
Mix the dry ingredients. Gradually mix in the buttermilk to form a moist enough dough. Shape it into a round mound on a floured tin and cut a cross on top (this blesses the bread).
Bake @ 45 minutes…should sound hollow when tapped.