I’ve had a recipe on my desk since last June. Sometimes, it made sad puppy dog eyes at me, asking if there was any chance it would ever be chosen. Other times it sulked and went into hiding under tall mounds of nonsense. Occasionally it would get sassy and assertive and flit from the top of one pile to the next, taunting me with its presence.
The recipe is for Irish Brown Soda bread, and I begged and nagged for it shortly after a trip to Ireland and a Kerrygold event at which famed Irish chef Neven Maguire served his version with Dubliner cheese.But his recipe was made with special Irish flour that is not readily available in the US, so I didn’t even try to re-create it. Instead, I badgered my source for all-things-Irish, the vice president of Kerrygold USA, Roisin Hennerty.
So, with apologies to Roisin in advance for any way in which my adaptation does her version a disservice, I have finally freed her recipe from the confines of my desk and brought it to life in my kitchen.Thank you, Dear Recipe, for your patience.
Irish Brown Soda Bread
adapted from Roisin Hennerty
4 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
4 cups stone ground whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup bran
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon very soft salted butter
4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons oats
1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Butter two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans and set aside.
2. In a large, wide bowl, combine the white and wheat flours, salt, baking soda, wheat germ and bran. Mix thoroughly.
3. In a separate smaller bowl, Combine the egg, molasses, softened butter, and buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid ingredients in. Using your hand like a claw, mix the liquid and dry ingredients with your fingers, working the dough just enough to ensure it is evenly combined. The dough will be wet and sticky. (Roisin refers to this as the texture of sticky porridge). Place half the dough in each prepared loaf pan, patting it to even out the top. Sprinkle with the oats. And, says Roisin, “Never — ever– forget to prick the corners of the loaves and let the fairies out. We Irish do believe in fairies. Respect.”
4. Place in the center of the oven and bake 15 minutes; reduce the oven temperature to 400F, rotate the pans and bake another 15 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes before slicing.
Serve slathered with salted Irish butter.
Makes 2 loaves
I also made ISB yesterday and used a recipe without caraway seeds or raisins. It was very good but all commented on it not being traditional. Yours has neither too. So are we the norm or not?
I was at a demo the other day by Darina Allen, who is like the Alice Waters of Ireland. She is the doyenne of Irish food traditions, so in my mind, her word is law. She told us that caraway seeds are not traditional, though she likes them. Sultanas (like raisins) are, though, sometimes included. And then she talked about making it with sultanas and rosemary, and I knew I’d have to try it!
Darina called it Spotted Dog when the sultanas are baked into it. It is a visual look, think of a dog with spots. Here spot, come spot…hehe
Peggy Fallon says
This sounds divine, and I can’t wait to try it–and ditto for Darina Allen’s pairing of golden raisins and rosemary! I’ve given up on the concept of “authenticity.” Irish soda breads have regional roots that span all of Ireland; and it seems each recipe is prone to adaptation. (I recently wrote about my own family’s recipe on http://www.projectfoodie.com.) I’m all for celebrating the deliciousness of each and every variation! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Nancie McDermott says
How beautiful and inviting. I’ve not yet made it to Ireland, but am eager to go one of these days. This looks like a very fine way to bridge the distance in the meantime, especially today. Hope it’s lovely spring where you are!
Camilla Baker says
I’ve tasted Roisin’s soda bread and it is divine so I’m sure yours is just as yummy! Wonderful blog BTW
“…it is divine”. As is everything about Roisin. So annoying: Just as Barbie doll makes us look short-legged and wide-waisted, so goes Roisin with our competence, wit, and charm.
Kimberly Winter Stern says
Lovely recipe and post, Marge. I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when, at the end of the post, you allowed readers to “slather” their slices of ISB with Irish salted butter. Not a dab, a slather. Thank you!
Don’t tell anyone, but while I was slathering the bread in the photo, i was sampling the butter to be sure it was good and fresh. (yeah, even though Kerrygold had brought it to us just the day before. After all, you can never be sure enough…)
Amy Nieporent says
Being from a good ole’ Irish family (The O’Moshenbergs) and working at Holy Name Medical Center (Really a place for all things Irish) I have had a piece or two of ISB ..this sounds delish!!!
Hi just came across your website when I was looking for roast peppers and I had another wee loo and found this recipe. I make soda bread a few times a week and I never add salt. TWO teaspoons of sale if I may respectfully say is absolutely too much and not needed. Kind regards. Honora, Dublin.
Thank so much for your feedback. I am certainly not an expert on Irish soda bread– but I got this recipe from a friend who is from Ireland and quite involved with cookery there. This is, I believe, her family recipe. It turned out quite wonderfully for me, but I am always happy to learn of other recipes and methods, and would love it if you care to share yours!
Again, thanks so much for chiming in, and I hope to learn more about your soda bread.