Savor the Season
Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Connor Makes Irish Soda Bread

One of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day, is right around the corner, and I thought I’d let you in on a little family secret: Grandma Caley’s Famous Irish Soda Bread.  No St. Patrick’s Day is complete without several loaves of this Irish treasure as part of your spread.  The Caley recipe, of unknown provenance somewhere between the Celtic shores of Muir Èireann and the Isle of Man, has been in my family for generations; simple and customizable, it’s sure to delight your friends and family.

In addition to the traditional Irish Soda Bread, I’ll try out two interesting variations in hopes of finding a more “modernized” version of the recipe.  With these recipes, the ingredients (which can all be found at FreshDirect), and a little bit of luck, you’ll find the ISB that’s perfect for you, even if your baking skills are a little, shall we say, green…

Irish Soda Bread

The Ingredients

The Traditional Caley Recipe

Basic soda bread is by definition just flour, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt.  This recipe is for a more festive St. Patrick’s Day Irish Soda Bread.  If you’re feeling really spirited, add in 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds for a more savory bread; for something sweeter, substitute one of the cups of raisins with a  cup of chocolate chips.

 


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-2 cups of raisins
  • 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8-10” cast iron frying pan.
  3. Mix together all ingredients EXCEPT the unsalted butter.  Don’t overmix!
  4. Melt 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter.
  5. Add in the melted butter and mix in.  Use your hands to make it feel all artisanal and rustic.
  6. Spread out contents evenly into the greased cast iron pan.
  7. Bake for 50-60 mins until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean and dry.  Oven times may vary.
  8. Let sit for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

*Quick tip: Melt the butter in the cast iron pan.  If you’re careful not to burn it, you’ll melt it more evenly AND grease the pan in doing so.

Irish Soda Bread

Mix It Up

Limerick:

Mix buttermilk that isn’t sour,

With baking soda, sugar, and flour

Some raisins and salt,

Butter melted by default,

And bake in the ov’n for an hour.

 

USDA-Approved Whole-Wheat ISB

I live in Brooklyn, and I don’t want my neighbors rolling their eyes at my grandma’s famous Irish Soda Bread—so I’ve attempted to organify and whole-wheatatize the recipe!  USDA-organic is totally the authentic way to do Irish cuisine!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of organic AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk (organic not available at this time)
  • 1-2 cups of organic raisins
  • 1 ½ sticks of organic, unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat the organic oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an organic 8-10” cast iron frying pan.
  3. Mix together all organic ingredients EXCEPT the unsalted butter.  Don’t overmix!
  4. Organically melt 1 ½ sticks of organic unsalted butter.
  5. Add in the melted butter and mix in.  Using your hands to mix makes it extra organic.
  6. Spread out contents evenly into the greased cast iron pan.
  7. Bake for 50-60 mins until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean and dry.  Oven times may vary.
  8. Let sit for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Limerick:

There once was a man from Brooklyn Heights,

Who loved his USDA-approved delights.

If it wasn’t organic,

He’d freak out and panic.

He preferred whole wheat flours to whites.

 

Irish Soda Bread

Ready to Bake

Irish Soy-da Bread

Whether milk makes you uncomfortable or, like me, you’re just suspicious of all things dairy, it’s good to have a dairy-free version of Irish Soda Bread on hand.  Cooking without the buttermilk and butter is tricky, but if you can get the right mixture and viscosity, you’re in business.

 


Ingredients
:

  • 4 cups of AP flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1-2 cups of raisins
  • 1 ½ sticks of unsalted margarine

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8-10” cast iron frying pan.
  3. Mix together all ingredients EXCEPT the unsalted margarine and soy yogurt.  Don’t overmix!
  4. If only flavored soy yogurt is available, use any flavor and scoop out one cup of yogurt from the top (you may need to use 2 containers).  There is fruit on the bottom, which you don’t want in the mix.  Add the soy yogurt to the other ingredients.
  5. Melt 1 ½ sticks of unsalted margarine
  6. Add in the melted margarine and mix it in using your hands.  Add in extra flour or almond milk if it is too wet or dry to keep in a ball.
  7. Spread out contents into the greased cast iron pan.
  8. Bake for 50-60 mins until golden brown or a toothpick comes out clean and dry.  Oven times may vary.
  9. Let sit for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Limerick:

There once was a man named Larry,

Who was deeply suspicious of dairy.

He preferred to use soy,

But just had to toy,

With oven times which, often, could vary.

 

Conclusion

If baking’s not your thing or you want guaranteed awesome Irish Soda Bread, look no further than FreshDirect’s very own Irish Soda Bread.  It’s phenomenal and so easy to make: you just heat it up!  Whichever recipe you choose, Irish Soda Bread is best right out of the oven after it’s cool enough to handle.  If it’s been sitting out, put it in the toaster oven for a few minutes.  Slap on some butter or jam and enjoy with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or your special Irish coffee.  Sláinte!

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