I’m back, your resident American expat to bring you yet another traditional Irish recipe – Brown Soda Bread.
Now, growing up my Great Grandma (whose maiden name was Nolan so you know she was Irish) would to make me and my sisters homemade soda bread. This is one of my first memories. In her later years she’d order soda bread from her favorite bakery and even though it wasn’t homemade the memories are still the same.
It wasn’t until Chris and I moved to Ireland that I knew I had to create my own version in memory of my Nana (shout out to my sisters Melissa, Jessica (Marko) and Victoria if you’re reading this).
Now enough with the sappy background story.
Soda bread is super duper easy to make – there is no yeast and no resting so it’s incredibly fast to make. They don’t call it a quick bread for nothing!
To accompany this recipe I made a maple, honey and rosemary butter. This should be slathered liberally on the warm soda bread for full effect. While you don’t need the butter to enjoy this amazing bread you definitely need this butter in your life. The sweet flavor with the hint of rosemary goes perfect on pancakes, white or sourdough toast, biscuits… lets be real… any carby vessel will do when it comes to this butter!
Of Rachel focus…back to the bread.
This bread will last up to 3 days at room temp or frozen for about a month – thought I have no experience with it lasting since Chris and I ate is in about 24 hours.
I mentioned it’s easy to make – let’s chat about just how easy it is.
Like I mentioned there is no yeast in this bread- the ‘soda’ in soda bread refers to baking soda. The use of baking soda in breads is very common around the world. Baking soda is used as the leavening agent instead of the traditional dried or fresh yeast. Since there’s no kneading , resting or proofing this bread is much more dense than other breads. The texture is more like a muffin then most “breads” found North American. Don’t let that turn you away. It’s honestly wonderful and crave worthy. Once you try it you’ll realize it’s far superior to dip into soups or stews than ‘normal’ breads!
For my soda bread I’m a firm believer that you should use partial brown flour. Here in Ireland brown flour is wholemeal flour (or wholewheat in The States). Here (in Ireland) the brown flours seem to absorb a lot more water then wholewheat flour in America. So if you’re using American flour you may need to adjust the liquid in this recipe down 1/8 – 1/4 cup. I’m also a purist and don’t add raisin or nuts to keep the bread neutral in flavor. If it’s your prerogative to add nuts or dried fruit be my guest; just keep it to 3 tbsp or less to ensure the best bread texture possible.
So now that I’ve ranted and raved let’s get into how to male this soda bread!