Irish Soda Bread

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3 cups (12 oz) of wheat flour
1 cup (4 oz) of white flour (do not use self-rising as it already contains baking powder and salt)
4 Tbsp butter
14 ounces of buttermilk (pour in a bit at a time until the dough is moist)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

Alternate recipe:
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup raisins
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups 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. Rub in the butter until the flour is crumbly.

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 to show it is done.

Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

Let cool and you are ready to have a buttered slice with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

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The best flour to use is “soft wheat” which is called “pastry flour” or “cake flour” today in the US. If you want to try using Irish flour, may I suggest Odlums.

In 1845, about the time that soda bread baking was taking off in Ireland, William Odlum opened a four mill in Portlaoise and his descendants expanded the business over the years until 1988 when it was purchased by a corporation that continues production today. They produce not only the white and wheat flours, but for the modern Irish family, a soda bread mix flour and brown bread mix flour that only needs water added to create a soda bread dough.

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Oldest published recipe circa 1836

Put a pound and a half of good wheaten meal into a large bowl, mix with it two teaspoonfuls of finely-powdered salt, then take a large teaspoonful of super-carbonate of soda, & dissolve it in half a teacupful of cold water, and add it to the meal; rub up all intimately together, then pour into the bowl as much very sour buttermilk as will make the whole into soft dough (it should be as soft as could possibly be handled, and the softer the better,) form it into a cake of about an inch thickness, and put it into a flat Dutch oven or frying-pan, with some metallic cover, such as an oven-lid or griddle, apply a moderate heat underneath for twenty minutes, then lay some clear live coals upon the lid, and keep it so for half an hour longer (the under heat being allowed to fall off gradually for the last fifteen minutes,) taking off the cover occasionally to see that it does not burn.

One Response to Irish Soda Bread

  1. Pingback: Happy St Patrick’s Day! | The Virtual Wren

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