Bread #9: Irish Soda Bread
In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I’ve chosen to bake a delicious soda bread based on a recipe by Denelle from her blog Let’s Dish which you can find by clicking here.
Below you can see my rendition:
Served with corned beef, cabbage, and potato leek soup:
This recipe, unlike many other Soda Bread recipes I’ve come across, sticks to its original Irish roots, forgoing butter, eggs, and currents for a simple combination of flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. The tradition of making a crumbly dessert-like soda bread is more an Irish-American one than one derived from Ireland. In fact, soda bread became popular in Ireland due to a lack of luxury foods like butter and eggs and even yeast. Before then, not much bread was eaten in Ireland. In fact, the method of making bread using bi-carbonate soda can be traced back to Native Americans long before the Irish got a handle on it.
Though Irish Soda Bread is it’s often associated with Irish old country, it’s a relatively new invention since bicarbonate soda wasn’t introduced to Ireland until around 1840. Perhaps this is because Soda Bread became such an important staple during times of famine when many people living in Ireland’s poorest regions didn’t have access to yeast or anything other than soft wheat.
Today, however, Soda bread is often baked during holidays such as Saint Patrick’s Day. I find this a shame because a traditionally made soda bread is one that can fit easily into anyone’s daily meal. It’s delicious, fast, easy, and extremely versatile whether it’s used to soak up soups or whisky maple syrup during a midnight French toast snack (I urge you to try this).
But, being the hypocrite that I am, I have decided to stick with the new age tradition of baking soda bread on this festive drinking holiday so to celebrate and with respect to soda bread, I’d like to make a toast! One short and sweet so’s every beer mug lifted stays frothy and cold. Here it goes:
A toast! To all the stout drinkers
and soda bread lovers
May your bellies be full
beneath warm knitted covers
and your dreams run free
through fields of rolling green
ripe with wonders none
but the Gaelic spirits have seen.
Cheers to those without gold
but with plenty of heart
The feather light souls
that fly from the start
To the height of great passion
for the old Irish way
as we drink for the patrons
on this Saint Patrick’s Day