The first time I had Irish Soda Bread was over 30 years ago. It was served at a buffet party with ham and lots of other things. It’s the bread that made the big impression on me. It was earthy and tender, served as thick slices with lots of cold butter. As soon as I got home, I looked up the recipe in one of my many cookbooks about baking bread and proceeded to make it for many years. I only quit baking it when Steve and I went gluten free about 10 years ago.
The bread I first tasted had raisins in it which gave it a slightly sweet flavor. The other day, I decided to try doing a gluten free version. I couldn’t find my original recipe that i wanted to adapt to gluten free, so, I went on line and looked up Irish Soda Bread recipes. Oh my! What a discussion about genuine recipes versus American variations. It turns out that the first time I ever had Soda Bread it was an American variation that was made with white flour and had raisins in it. It also turns out that genuine Irish Soda bread does not have raisins, sugar or eggs, all items found in many American recipes, and all items that taste good in Soda Bread.
If you are interested in a discussion about real Irish Soda Bread, you can find it at: The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread: http://www.sodabread.info/ There are also lots of other very interesting sites discussing soda bread recipes.
It’s a wonderful hearty, easy and quick bread to bake.
The original ingredients were whole wheat flour, soda, salt, and buttermilk ( the real kind that was left over from making butter).
My recipe is gluten free and has the minimum amount of ingredients: Gluten free flour, buckwheat flour, baking soda, and cream mixed with water. The buckwheat flour gives the bread a mild hearty flavor. I used cream mixed with water instead of buttermilk because most buttermilk these days is anything but buttermilk and most likely has gluten in it. The cream i use is JD’s Whole Cream. It’s nothing but real cream.
Makes one small loaf
1 cup of gluten free flour
1 cup of Buckwheat flour
2 tsp, Baking Soda
Mix together: 1/4 cup real cream with 3/4 cup water.
Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients together. Then slowly stir in the liquid. You may have to add more water.
The dough should be mixed with enough liquid to make it pliable but not too soft.
Turn the dough out onto a slightly floured board and knead it into a soft round. Do not handle the dough too much or you will have a tough bread. Place the round of dough into a pie plate or small iron skillet. My skillet fits perfectly into my toaster oven. Cut a deep cross into the top of it to let out steam and to help the bread bake evenly, or cut it into 4 quarters.
Bake for 15 minutes. Check for doneness. If the part with the cross cut into it looks like it is getting done faster than the bottom portion of the loaf, then cut the loaf into quarters and put it back into the oven for another 15 minutes.
When it is done, the bread will feel dry and be light in texture but dark in color.
I was serving this for a light evening supper, so, we sliced the smallest quarter and split that between us. I can’t really describe the flavor other than delicious and hearty and so good that neither of us ate anything but the bread and butter.
The next morning, I heated up some slices in the skillet, with butter and a sliced boiled egg. I pulled out some homemade apple/fig jam and had a feast!
Cooking Joyfully in Nonesuch,
For more information about JD’s Cream go to:
You can buy it at Good Foods Co-op and the Berea Farm Store.