This bread is such a staple in Ireland. Big surprise, huh? Did the name give it away? Hehe.
When Christopher and I took our Ireland Trip, we came across this delish bread often. The texture is great and the taste is plain but oddly delightful. Especially if you slather butter on it, and don’t even get me started with spreading jam on it. Wait, yes, get me started. That’s the way I love to eat it. Christopher just has butter and sometimes a spread. But I haven’t blogged yet about that spread, so I’m keeping mum about it right now.
Recommend!! Yum! A big huge ‘grin ear to ear’ yum!
My grandfather on my mother’s side was full Irish and I do have memories of eating a bread that tasted like this one, but I can’t be certain since I was much younger. I’ll have to confer with my relatives.
I cobbled this recipe together, figuring it would be like the bread we enjoyed in Ireland. And I was right. I love when that happens!
So on to the recipe:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and grease 1 loaf pan.
I knew after quizzing some wait staff that Irish brown soda bread is made with whole meal flour, so after doing a little research, I decided to use 100% stoneground flour. I’m glad I did. The texture of the flour is lovely and the resulting bread was exactly the way I remembered it being in Ireland.
I use more stoneground flour than spelt flour in this recipe; spelt is my go-to flour! Very rarely do I use white, all purpose flour in my baking.
I also use baking soda (hence the name Irish brown soda bread) and salt.
I sift together the spelt flour, salt and baking soda, then I stir in the stoneground flour. Now, you can either use a dough cutter or your hands to add the 2 tablespoons of butter. I, of course, use the dough cutter. Clean hands for this chick. Yessiree.
You want the flour butter mixture to have pea sized clumps.
Next, I gather some buttermilk, which of course one can either buy or make. Here’s how you make it: combine 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of either lemon juice or vinegar. Stir together and let sit for approximately 5 minutes. I have made it this way in the past and you can’t tell the difference from store-bought buttermilk. Now, I use Powdered Buttermilk, and I love it. I keep the can in the fridge since if you don’t use it frequently, it will clump up.
I also use an egg and some honey.
Whisky whisky time. Not the kind of whiskey you drink in a cocktail, but the implement you use to whisk an egg. Crack your egg in a bowl; add the buttermilk and honey; and have at it all with the whisk.
Pour the egg mixture in the flour mixture and stir until it is integrated.
Time to grease a loaf pan and plop your batter into it. At this point, you have the option to cut a cross into the dough. Traditionally, they used to cut in the cross to ward off the devil and to protect the household. This practice goes back to the 1800’s.
I cut the cross in there because I like how it looks and, well, who couldn’t use a little more protection? 😉
I had a surprise during my research about this bread. From what I can gather, the Irish didn’t invent this luscious bread, it was Native Americans who first started making it.
The Irish people adopted this bread in the 19th century for three reasons:
1.) It is cheap and easy to make.
2.) Most of the families lived in farmhouses and had open hearths, not ovens, so they would make it in rounds and put it in a pan and place it in their hearth to bake.
3.) The bread is hearty and doesn’t spoil quickly.
The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is used as a leavening agent instead of yeast and is suited for stoneground, coarser flours. Also, interestingly, the brown part of Irish soda bread comes from using whole wheat flour instead of refined flours, which would make it white. I definitely love the brown!
Isn’t this a truly interesting bread?
Enough scintillating information about the origins of soda bread. It’s now time to pop it into the oven.
You bake it for 40 – 45 minutes.
Once it’s done, let it cool on a rack for 10 minutes before you take it out of the pan.
It’s a beautiful brown color, isn’t it?
And that is it.
Isn’t that easy? And once you taste it, you will see how delish it is!
I hope you liked this recipe. Feel free to leave me a comment and pin any photo!Print
This delish SIMPLE bread recipe is great at meals or slather it with jam for dessert!
- 1 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill 100% stoneground whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup spelt flour (you can use all purpose white flour as well)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces butter, softened
- 3/4 pint buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Grease one loaf pan
- Sift spelt flour, baking soda and salt together in large bowl
- Add stoneground flour
- Mix together
- Add softened butter and use a dough cutter to get pea sized clumps in mixture
- In a small bowl whisk egg, milk and honey together
- Add egg mixture to flour mixture
- Stir until combined
- Pour in loaf pan and cut a cross into dough
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes
- Let cool for 10 minutes in pan
- Slather with butter or jam