A few days before St. Patrick’s day I was on the phone with a friend chatting about my pup’s recovery (he did amazing and fingers crossed for his next follow-up appointment) from a surgical procedure and she was interrupted by her husband who had a question. He wanted to know if I was baking Irish Soda Bread (he’s not Irish but he loves to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day since I moved in across the street). I said, “of course I am.” It’s one of my favorite breads and I bake it throughout the year, not just on the Wearin’ of the Green day. I was first introduced to Irish Soda bread by my uncle’s second wife. Born and bred in Ireland she moved to the United States in her twenties and kept along with her brogue her Irish traditions. Each year she bought Irish Soda bread from the nuns and that’s how I got introduced to the bread. Even though my family is Irish, no one ever baked Irish Soda bread. Go figure. Well, I set to correct that terrible error and I’ve been baking this bread for years.
I bake my bread on a pizza stone. I love the texture to the bread when it’s baked on the stone. There’s a lot of speculation of the meaning of the cross that is slashed into the dough prior to baking. There are some that say the cross wards off the devil, others say that it lets the fairies out and others who claim that it was an easy way to portion the bread. I select #2, letting the little Irish fairies out. When you bake your loaf, you can decide. 🙂
The bread comes together quickly so it’s perfect for any meal.
Whenever I bake this bread I think fondly of my late Aunt Bridie. She was a tough old broad with a big heart. That’s the one awesome thing about cooking, even if you’re standing at the counter in your kitchen by yourself, you’re never alone because our recipes keep the spirits and hearts of our beloved ones with us.
If you haven’t tried baking Irish Soda bread before I hope you try this recipe. I’m sure you’ll love it. If you have baked this bread before, who’s recipe do you use? Is it one that has been handed down or did you get it from some place else?
What are quick breads?
They are breads made without yeast. Instead, baking powder or baking soda are used in place of yeast. This allows for the bread to be made quickly because there is no waiting for the dough to rise before baking.
Flour – all-purpose works the best, I use King Arthur’s
Sugar – gives a little sweetness to the bread along with the raisins
Baking powder – leavening which makes the bread rise
Baking soda – leavening which makes the bread rise
Salt – tasty bread needs a pinch or two
Unsalted butter – gives the bread a scone-like texture
Raisins – optional and can be substituted for dried cranberries or caraway seeds, baker’s choice
Buttermilk – activates the baking soda
Egg – adds richness and density