I cannot believe it’s been a year and a half since my daughter and I went to Ireland. I wish I could be there right now. But since I am not in Ireland and tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day, I am making Irish Soda bread and dreaming of the Emerald Isle (which I am named after! Erin Go Braugh is Irish for Ireland forever🇨🇮.)
There were SO MANY amazing things about our trip but one of the least expected was how great the food was, especially since we are both vegetarians. Everywhere in Ireland you can get a delicious homemade vegetarian vegetable soup, served with a big plate of Brown Bread or Soda Bread and their “out of this world Irish Butter”. As you can see from my photo, you can buy a fresh loaf of Soda Bread in most grocery markets, displayed in baskets.
I like the very dark and crusty version but if you want to go with a lighter bread I am including the directions for both types of loaves.
I also put oatmeal in mine to add even more texture and a slightly nutty flavor but you can leave it out if you prefer.
I have made dozens of loaves of Irish Brown and/or Soda bread since our trip and I think this recipe is pretty darn good, both the light and dark versions. I just wish it could magically transport me back to that little tea house in The Burren that served the most delicious vegetable soup and huge slices of this bread slathered with fresh Irish butter.😋🇨🇮
So bring on the Guinness (or Bushmills) and make a loaf of this delicious, hearty soda bread.
RECIPE for IRISH SODA BREAD
Ingredients for DARK BREAD: (makes 1 big dense loaf)
- 2 cups organic, unbleached flour
- 1 3/4 cups organic whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups regular oats ( NOT instant)- optional
- 1 TBSP baking soda (yes, it is a tablespoon, not teaspoon)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk or plain kefir
- 2 TBSPS molasses or honey
- 1 TBSP very hot water
Ingredients for LIGHT BREAD: (makes 1 small loaf)
- 3 1/2 – 4 cups unbleached white, organic flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups fresh buttermilk or kefir
- 2 tsp honey or molasses
- 1 tsp very hot water
DIRECTIONS (same for both)
- In large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients (including oatmeal, if using).
- In smaller bowl, mix honey or molasses with the hot water until smooth, pour in the buttermilk and stir until well blended.
- Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry, stirring with a wooden spoon just until it’s all incorporated enough to make a very sticky dough. DO NOT OVER-MIX. You might need to use your hands here.
- Loosely form into a ball, and let sit, uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or you can put it in a parchment lined round cake pan. It will flatten out more on a sheet, but it does bake a little faster this way.
- With a sharp knife make a cross on the top of the loaf.
- Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40- 60 minutes. The Dark Bread takes longer to cook in the middle. You can cut into the bread to make sure the center is cooked through and pop it back in the oven with a piece of foil loosely draped over the top if it needs more time. The thicker it is the longer it takes to cook. It should make a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.
- Remove to a wire rack and let cool before slicing. SLA’INTE!!😋🍀