Around this time each year, I try to post a recipe to honor my Irish ancestry. In years past, I’ve shared Champ, Leek and Potato Soup, and Irish Currant Scones. At different times I’ve also shared Irish Spiced Fruitcake, Mr. Guinness’ Cake, Beef and Stout Pie, and Chicken Leek and Mushroom Pie.
This year I’d like to share one of the most quintessential Irish recipes of all – soda bread. This is the whole wheat version of the bread made daily in homes throughout Ireland. It’s best eaten the day it’s made and, preferably, with lots and lots of creamy Irish butter!
The dough for this Brown Irish Soda Bread is simple – just a few ingredients – brought together with a quick stir of the hand and baked until beautifully brown. I make it often but mine is never as good as the loaves I’ve enjoyed in Ireland. That’s because of the difference in U.S. and European flours. Still, I make it and every time I put it in the oven I think of all those Irish ancestors who came before me and how many loaves they made for their families.
I’m definitely a Southern girl. Born and raised in the South with Southern blood running through my veins. But, way down in the depths of my soul, I’m Irish. As Irish as they come. Ireland is a part of me and I am a part of it. It is where my heart lives. I hope this loaf is a fitting tribute to my heritage. You’ll not find any dancing leprechauns or drunken green hatted men here.
I will say, though, that we of Irish descent do tend to have a streak of the superstitious in us. That’s why I always bless my loaf with a deep cross cut into the top and prick each of the four sections to let the fairies out, don’t you know. And, by the way, those Irish fairies are nothing like Tinkerbell. They’re vicious little devils that will ruin your baking if you don’t watch :-)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift together both the flours, salt, and baking soda. Add the seeds if using them.
Add the butter to the flour and seed mixture. Using just your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.
In another bowl or measuring cup, lightly whisk the egg together with the buttermilk.
Make a well in the center of the flour and butter mixture and pour in approximately 3/4 of the buttermilk and egg mixture.
Using your hand, bring the dry and wet ingredients together. Work in a circular motion beginning in the center and bringing in flour from the sides of the bowl. Add more of the buttermilk if needed to make a soft but not sticky dough.
Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out. Gently shape the dough into a round about 1 1/2 inches thick.
Transfer to a baking sheet and cut a deep cross in the top of the dough round. Prick each of the four sections.
Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes. To test whether the loaf is done, tap it on the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it’s ready. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Enjoy! All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.
All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.
More Irish soda bread recipes you might enjoy:
- Irish Soda Bread from Edible Ireland
- Irish Soda Bread from Wholesome Ireland
- Mummy’s Brown Irish Soda Bread from Kerrygold
- Irish Wheaten Bread (Brown Soda Bread) from About.com British and Irish Food
- Irish Soda Bread from BBC Good Food
What I was up to…
- One year ago: Apple Cranberry Crumble and Leek and Potato Soup
- Two years ago: Tomato-Fennel Soup and Champ
- Three years ago: Savory French Toast
- Four years ago: Spiced Tea (a.k.a. Russian Tea) and Homemade Granola
- Five years ago: Freezing Tomatoes and Steak Sandwich