Saturday, April 7, 2012

Irish Soda Bread and other odds and ends

Yesterday was a perfect spring day, sunny but cool.

Kris  on her blog, The Gardens at Melissa Majora has written a couple of times about making Irish Soda Bread.  For a long time, I have  wondered what it tasted like and wanted to try it simply out of curiosity.
Well, her last blog  about it pushed me over the edge.  It was really too wet out to pull weeds or mow so I set to work in the kitchen.

I did some online research and found that Kris' recipe is the authentic Irish bread, no shortening (that worried me!) and no added ingredients except flour, buttermilk, soda and salt.  I did add 1/3 cup sugar which wasn't original but we like a bit of sweet in our bread.

You can find her recipe on her blog, look at the side bar and click on Chef's Table.

Here is my experience as a first time baker of this extraordinary bread.  It is very simple to make and takes very little time.  I did have to add additional buttermilk to get what I guessed was the right consistency, something a little stiffer  than biscuit dough.  I baked mine in a 1.5 quart casserole and it didn't bake evenly as you can see by this photo.

Also it took longer with my oven, in fact,  I thought it was done and cut it in half and found a small doughy center so put it back in the bowl and cooked until done.

After checking with Kris, I find she cooks hers on a flat sheet so the bread can tend to flatten out and wouldn't be quite so thick in the center.  Also I read where traditionally it is cooked in a dutch oven or heavy covered pan.  I think I will try my clay cooker (Romertoff) the next time.

The crust is quite hard.....very tasty but hard.  Again, after research I see Kris puts hers in a plastic bag while still warm and so it sweats a bit to soften the crust.  The Irish used a dampened kitchen cloth.

The texture is quite fine and dense and the flavor is very good. DH and I both liked it very much.

If you add raisins it is called spotted dick or spotted dog.

I will be making some using either raisins, dried cranberries and orange zest next. Traditionally is was spread with butter or jam and eaten with tea or coffee.  I made a sandwich with a slice and thought it was a bit too sweet, I enjoyed it.  The texture works well as a sandwich.


I went out late in the day and spent 1.5 hours cleaning the cellar bed.  Today DH will haul off the debris.

I have a small spot on the back side that I will plant something in....maybe 4 x 3 feet.

In bloom in this bed:  Lunaria, Henryi clematis,  finishing white flowering quince.  To come iris, daylilies, asters and sedums.

I hope to do the grass bed next.  Of course, I didn't get the grasses burned off so now I have to do the laborious cutting.....not a good thing.  I have lost the north side with iris to the dratted brome from the cellar.

Daily Chores

I will milk this morning.

I have to bake three pies today for Easter dinner tomorrow at MIL's (a family issue that we thought was no longer an issue!)At least I have three crusts in the freezer.  Two chocolate and one pecan are ordered.

I will also make my refrigerator rolls this evening and bake them in the morning for the dinner.

Happy Easter!


  1. Glad you enjoyed your foray into soda bread. You've got a nice fine texture there on yours. They tell you to cut the cross very deeply so the bread sort of makes itself into four pull-apart sections, but I like how yours made for a more uniform slice. Looking forward to seeing how your raisin/dried fruit/zest recipes turn out. Okay, now I have to go and make another soda bread for the weekend - spotted or not. :-D

  2. I gave up bread for Lent, so this soda bread discussion comes at a perfect time. And I'd love to see a bigger shot of that table underneath the bread platter - it looks like it has earned a gorgeous patina.

  3. Happy Easter to you and your family Glenda.