Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Real McCoy - Wholemeal Irish Soda Bread





From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I know St. Patrick's Day is still weeks away, but I wanted to make sure that those of you who are tempted to try a real soda bread, have plenty of time to test recipes before selecting the one you'll finally use. I know it's hard to believe, but this is what a true Irish soda bread should look like. The addition of raisins, sugar and caraway is an English embellishment that produces a bread that should, more correctly, be called Spotted Dog. Irish peasants lived, for the most part, on a diet of potatoes, grains and milk. Bread appeared on their tables only during the summer, or "meal months", when potato stores had been exhausted. The bread was typically made in a lidded cast iron pot called a bastible, but in Northern Ireland it was shaped into a disk, called a farl, and scored with a cross to "let the devil out" as the bread rose and cooked. Our bread is devilishly good. This simple loaf is delicious when made with Irish wholemeal flour. Unfortunately, our (U.S.) whole wheat flour lacks the flavor of its Irish cousin and we have to fiddle and fudge to make a loaf that is anywhere near as flavorful. The good news is that it can be done by using a combination of flours, and boosting their flavor with oatmeal and wheat germ. The recipe I'm passing on to you was developed by Jeanne Lemlin and she has come up with a combination of grains that result in a typically Irish loaf. You'll find it to be wonderful, if you can clear your head and palate of long held notions of what a soda bread should be. There is nothing here but the flavor of the grain. One bite, and a slow and deliberate chew will convince you that nothing else is necessary. I love this and make it often. When we have guests, I serve it with Irish butter or a whipped cream cheese and a small platter of thinly sliced smoked salmon. I have, however, come to enjoy it completely unadorned. Plain or fancy, the bread should sit for 2 hours before slicing. It crumbles easily in the early stages of cooling, so it really needs this time to firm up. I really hope you'll try this bread. It is really wonderful. Like all soda breads, it stales quickly and is best enjoyed the day it is made. Here's the recipe.

Wholemeal Irish Soda Bread ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy Of Jeanne Lemlin

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1-1/3 cups well-shaken buttermilk or plain yogurt

Directions:
1) Move rack to center of oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.
2) Whisk together flours, oats, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and toss to coat with flour. Then blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir until dough is evenly moistened, but still lumpy.
3) Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour to prevent sticking, 1 minute (dough should remain soft and slightly sticky). Shape dough into a ball. Pat out dough on a lightly floured baking sheet into a 7-inch round. Dust dough with flour and spread lightly over round with your fingertips. Cut a 4- to 5-inch X (1/2 inch deep) in top of dough.
4) Bake in middle of oven until bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 35 minutes. Cool on a rack 2 hours before slicing. Yield: 1 loaf.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Chocolate Soda Bread - Real Epicurean
Browned Butter Soda Bread - Vanilla Sugar
Authentic Irish Soda Bread - Confessions of a Kitchen Witch
Oat Soda Bread - 101 Cookbooks
Irish Soda Bread - The English Kitchen
Brown Bread - David Lebovitz
Soda Bread - Farmersgirl Kitchen
Irish Soda Bread Scones - Brown Eyed Baker
Irish Soda Bread Scones - Smitten Kitchen
Caraway Soda Bread - Simply Recipes
Oats and Honey Irish Soda Bread with Raisins - Baking Bites

66 comments:

Pondside said...

I love bread with oatmeal in it. When I was a girl my aunt would visit for weeks at a time and she'd bake and bake. One thing I loved was Porridge Bread - made with rolled oats. I can still taste it - nothing but butter on it - delicious!

Becky Sue said...

this looks so wonderful! thanks for sharing. I am always looking for new bread recipes!

sophia said...

I do love soda bread! But the ones I've tried are usually the unconventional English ones. They're so easy to make though. I have this bookmarked. :-)

muppy said...

That is so funny, i was just telling my husband the other night i wanted to make soda bread, something i have never done before, until now i didn't even know what was in it! Thanks, I will try this :)

Nisa Homey said...

Hi Mary, thanks for visiting my space and for the lovely comment...soda bread looks yum...bookmarked!!

Shanae Branham said...

What a great idea for St. Patrick's bread! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! Hope to see you again.

Alessandra said...

Ah, I haven't had this for ages! Wonderful!

ciao
A.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I have just put a link from my blog to yours for this recipe today. if you take a look at my blog you will see why :-) Diane

From the Kitchen said...

This looks good enough to eat. In fact, I'd like a slice right now--slathered in Irish butter and orange marmalade.

Best,
Bonnie

Ana Rita said...

Never tried this one but i'm curious on his flavour...With so good ingredients it must be a delicious bread!!!

Have a nice weekend,

Rita

Rachel Cotterill said...

I love soda bread :)

Three-Cookies said...

Looks fantastic.

The Sweetylicious said...

is such a healthy bread (: it ure look delicious and appealing!

Emma said...

I have always wanted to bake soda bread (I'm part Irish so shame on me for not attempting it so far).

Oatmeal is a good addition I agree as is the buttermilk.

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

I just posted a soda bread recipe too. Yours looks great! I'll try it if I can find the right flour. Thanks for sharing...love your blog!

Tasha said...

Several years back, I had a good friend who was from Ireland, and his family opened a pub & restaurant that served real-deal soda bread. It was wonderful, and since the pub is no longer in existance, I'd love to try your bread!

June said...

A perfect loaf to make on this cold snowy day in Tucson...yes, that's right. "Thanks" for sending us your snow - no kidding, I'm loving it!

Bits of Taste said...

Lovely, I love this type of bread.

Kim said...

It's a promise, I will bake this bread because you convince me with the picture and the description. Plus, I never a Irish soda bread... I know, it's a shame... Have a good day!

Nisrine, Dinners and Dreams said...

It's almost time for soda bread with St. Patrick's right around the corner. It looks beautiful.

Kath said...

I've always said that raisins, sugar, and caraway did not belong in Irish soda bread. Yours looks like the "real deal"! Thanks for sharing, Mary!

Julie said...

I didn't know real Irish Soda bread didn't have the raisins, etc. in it. I am hosting Sweet Melissa Sunday's in a couple of weeks. I chose Irish Soda Bread recipe, it has raisins.

This looks so delicious!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I will be trying this one out, too. Thank you, Mary. Blessings ~ Tanna

Jeannie said...

Sounds like a great McCoy too! I love bread plain or otherwise:)

crustabakes said...

That was a very informative entry on the irish bread. I like the part on the "let the devil out" :)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Yes, we've turned Irish Soda Bread into something almost cake-like. How great that you've combined grains to get that deep, satisfying flavor. What a beautiful, caramel color you achieved. It must smell heavenly while baking.

Clint said...

This looks wonderful. You always make me hungry!

lena said...

thanks for sharing yet another wonderful recipe..this is quick and less complicated!

Katerina said...

We don't have St. Patrick's Day here but I will sure try this bread Mary!

Kim - Liv Life said...

Bread with oatmeal... who could resist?? I haven't made a soda bread in years and years, but it's one of my dad's favorites. I think I'll surprise him!!

bellini valli said...

Soda bread is one of those essentials we all need to learn to perfect.

Ronda Kisner said...

I just might have to make this for St. Patrick's Day.

Kalyn said...

Irish Soda Bread is one of those things I discovered from food blogging, and this one does sound tasty!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Mary, This is perfect! I am learning how to make bread this year. I'll make this one in honor of St. Patrick's Day!
Thanks! You always have the best recipes!
Yvonne

Jay said...

very healthy n fab...looks really interesting..:D
Tasty appetite

Priya said...

A perfect loaf to make on this cold day..

Joanne said...

I am SO excited to try this more authentic version of soda bread! I'm dreaming of it with some cream cheese and lox...yum.

nanny said...

This bread looks and sounds wonderful.....I've been away for a few days and am anxious to catch up with all of your good recipes....Have a great Sunday!

Faith said...

I don't think I've ever had an authentic Irish Soda Bread! Thank you so much for sharing, Mary, this is going on my "to-make" list!

Jen_from_NJ said...

Your bread looks just like what I had in Ireland! Thank you so much for this authentic recipe. Oh how I love Irish butter too!

sweet road said...

This bread looks great... I forgot about St. Patricks day even existing as a holiday until now. I think I just needed a typical holiday food to remember it by!

sweetpeaskitchen.com said...

I love Irish soda bread! This looks great..

Lucie said...

I love how hearty this bread looks--you can almost taste the grain just looking at it!

That Girl said...

I've made lots of different breads, but never tried my hand with soda bread. I should change that.

Ginny said...

I love that picture of the whole loaf. I guess this would be practically a meal in itself with some kind of hearty spread on it. Nothing else needed. Of course, I could live on bread alone, anyway. And just a little chocolate. But why spotted dog? I Googled it but finally gave up.

A little bit of everything said...

you always come with great bread ideas.
the bread looks stunning.

have a wonderful Sunday, Mary

Cheryl said...

That looks hearty and delicous Mary!

Cooking Creation said...

I've been looking for an Irish soda bread recipe to try for next month, so thank you for posting this! Looks amazing :)

teresa said...

what a fun tradition for st. patricks day. i remember tried making this once, but it didn't work out so well. i need to try it again with this recipe.

Karen Harris said...

On my first trip to Ireland we were served the most wonderful bread with our lunch that I had ever eaten. I have to say I was amused when I asked our waiter what type of bread it was and he told me that it was soda bread. It was different and more delicious than any other soda bread I had ever eaten. You're right, there were no currants or raisins to be found. I've never added wheat germ to my bread but I will next time as that might just be the missing ingredient I have been looking for.

Kerstin said...

Looks so hearty and delicious - I've never made soda bread before so I'm bookmarking this :)

Soumya Vineeth said...

Perfect picture and well explained! This one seems healthy too
Happy day!

xinex said...

It looks wonderful, Mary. I am sure it is delicious too....Christine

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I ate so much soda bread when we visited Ireland. I have never made it . . . this may be my year.

This looks delicious.

Fondly,
Glenda

Rhonda said...

Can you believe the whole time I visited Ireland that I couldn't find a single place that sold Irish Soda Bread? Maybe I visited before they ran out of potatoes? The bread looks perfect.

elle marie said...

OHHHH I love mealy breads.... but soda brea esp... I fear though, I'm not up to par with my bread making skills...

mr. pineapple man said...

love this! want it for breakfast tomorrow!

Becky said...

Mary, thanks for sharing this recipe. Although one whole branch of my family is Irish, we do not have a family recipe for Irish Soda Bread. I love the sound and looks of this one and will give it a try this year.

Becky

tasteofbeirut said...

Your bread sounds fantastic! I am going to be making something Irish and maybe just a bread like this is the answer!

Miriam said...

You make a beautiful loaf :), Have a beautiful day. Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

This looks great Mary, I have everything but the wheat germ.

Susi said...

Mary, thanks so much for this great, hardy recipe. I've never had soda bread like this, only had the unconventional ones and this sounds actually better as a accompaniment to the corned beef and cabbage. I always thought the other ones were too sweet.

Catherine said...

Irish soda bread is a favorite of mine. Butter does not last too long when a loaf of Irish soda bread is in the house. Yours is a wonderful recipe. Blessings, Catherine

Sue said...

I have all the ingredients for this bread and would really like to try an authentic Irish soda bread. Thanks!

Mrs. Stranded said...

Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I'm preparing for our St. Patrick's Day party now and I appreciate you posting this recipe early so that we can try it.

Susan said...

THIS is my project this week! Thank you! GB! Susan

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