It's been a little over a year since we were all back in Ireland as a family (when we were a threesome instead of a foursome!). We JUST booked our trip home this summer and I cannot wait!! Besides a good long visit with family, we get to catch up with friends in Dublin for a wedding, and since M has to work out of London for a bit the girls and I are tagging along there too for a week so we can catch up with some of our UK friends!
I know M is missing tastes of home - and I am too. So I did a bit of Googling, a bit of pinning, and I dug up what looked like the most authentic results of an Irish soda bread. We gave it a whirl this morning and guys, this is so ridiculously easy - it only takes 4 ingredients!
I've discovered the mornings are the best time for baking or prepping dinner since both girls are happy to play on their own - Peanut on her mat, Bug at her table or next to her sister on the floor. Although lately Bug has developed a healthy interest in whatever mama's doing so now I try to find ways for her to "help". Otherwise she just gets into trouble trying to see what I'm up to...
For this recipe, she helped me pour the ingredients into the bowl and mix a bit, as she always does, and then she helped me knead the dough. Oh my goodness - to Bug, this was like the best thing since, well, sliced bread! She had so much fun getting her hands dirty and kneading away with me. We will no doubt make this a regular thing now since it was so fun to do together, so EASY, and turned out sooooo good.
Irish Soda Bread (adapted from Uncle Jerry's Kitchen)
- 3 and 2/3 c all purpose flour (I used 3 c white and 2/3 c whole wheat) plus a bit for dusting working surfaces
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 and 3/4 c buttermilk*
*I did not have buttermilk in the house so did a bit of DIY following this 'recipe' and mixed 3 Tbsp white vinegar with enough milk to make 2 cups total. Stir it up, sit for 15 mins, and use or refrigerate! You can also replace the vinegar with lemon juice if you have that in your pantry.
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Oil a baking sheet or cover with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of it and pour the buttermilk in. Using your hands or the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, mix it together until a soft dough is formed. You want the dough to be fairly wet but not too sticky. (I added a splash more of buttermilk after I initially mixed it, to get the right consistency.)
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times. Shape the dough into an 8 inch flat circle. (FLAT, not rounded like a ball.) Set the loaf on the oiled baking sheet and cut a cross in the top of the dough from edge to edge, about 1/4 inch deep, using a very sharp knife (dust with flour if necessary).
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
If you haven't experienced soda bread before, it is gorgeous. It's just a simple, plain bread with no added sweetness, and the buttermilk gives it a wonderful texture and ever so slight flavor. The density makes it perfect to serve with a bowl of a hearty soup or stew, but I like it just as well on its own, with a slathering of butter, or with thick slices of cheddar and tomatoes on the side. You can't go wrong with this bread! In fact, I think it's time to go try it out with some Nutella and a cup of Barry's tea while I daydream of our times in Ireland... ;)