The first time I ever had Irish Soda Bread I didn’t know what it was. I was staying the night with my best friend. Her mom made a big pot of stew and bread for us for dinner.
Later, she told us that it was Irish Soda Bread. According to her, it was developed when yeast was hard to get or too expensive. She wanted us to know that not everyone had all the conveniences that we enjoyed (and still do) but that didn’t mean we couldn’t have good things.
I thought at the time that what she was giving us was a history lesson. Now, I think that what she gave us was a life lesson.
Irish soda bread is often cooked in a cast iron dutch oven. There are only 4 ingredients. Some people will add raisins or fruit. While those methods taste good they are supposedly not traditional.
The four traditional ingredients are flour, baking soda, buttermilk or salt. You take about 4 cups of flour and mix it with a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking soda. Then you add 1 3/4 cup of buttermilk. Knead the dough and put it in a round cake pan. You are supposed to cut an X across the top of the bread but some people don’t.
Place the lid on the dutch oven.
Set the baking oven on 425 and slide the bread in when the oven preheats. It will take about an hour to cook. Take the lid off of the pot for the last 15 minutes so the Irish soda bread will brown nicely.
As an alternate method, you can knead the dough into a ball. Place it on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about an hour.
The bread will sound hollow when it is done.
Around St. Patrick’s Day this is often enjoyed with Irish Stew. The traditional ingredient in the stew is lamb. My family won’t touch lamb with a 10 foot pole. We use beef. You can try this recipe or use your family’s favorite.
Beef Stew Recipe (Can use lamb.)
2 Pounds stew meat cut into bite sized pieces.
1/2 Package of carrots cut.
6 Potatoes cut into bite sized pieces.
Dehydrated onion or powder. (You can use a real onion. I’m allergic to it.)
1 Tablespoon Oil
16 oz Beef stock
16 oz. of water.
Salt and Pepper
Place oil in a large pot and add the meat. Cook on medium-high heat until cooked. Turn to medium-low. Add beef stock and other vegetables. Simmer 1 hour or until vegetables are done. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with Irish soda bread and enjoy.
For more Irish Soda bread recipes please see the links section.