Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The countdown for all things Irish - Soda Bread

My mom's side of the family came from Ireland and Wales. Supposedly, my grandfather's clan lived in County Sligo, though I'm still looking for evidence on Ancestry.com. So when St Paddy's day rolls around, we get our Irish on and celebrate our celtic past. Out come the shamrock decorations, the green clothing, the reminiscing about our package tour years ago around Ireland (DON'T take a package tour if you can ever help it - bleh). Sure, this stuff is corny, but fun nonetheless.

In honor of the upcoming celebration of the Emerald Isle, I'll be featuring some Irish links and stories this week. Today's fare is Irish Soda Bread. Not the stuff you find in the stores, with raisins or currants or other such fruit. Nope, there is actually a society for the preservation of traditional soda bread. Go figure. According to these folks, only flour, soda, salt and buttermilk belong in real Irish soda bread. If you are looking for some recipes or history, check out the society's webpage.

My experience with soda bread in Ireland was mixed. It was served with every meal, had a rough texture and generally lacked flavor as I think of it when it comes to bread. It also grew on me, so that I missed it when I came home. I'm going to make up a batch tomorrow and see how I feel about it now. Nice thing about this kind of bread is it doesn't require yeast, so it can be made up with stuff you have on hand (see the tips about substituting milk and lemon juice, if you don't have buttermilk).

If you make it, let me know how it goes.


Buck said...

A dear friend of mine was an elderly nun from Ireland. She made a slightly sweet soda bread that had caraway seeds in it. Wonderful stuff!

Lorraine said...

We make a version that uses a wheat flour with the regular white...makes a slightly nutty bread with good, dense texture...just right for sopping up the gravy in the Irish stew!