Want to impress your friends and family this St. Patrick's Day? Make this Irish Soda Bread and you'll have them believing you just stepped off the boat from County Mayo with my great-grandmother!
By Janeen Ellsworth
Surviving these last gray, anguishing weeks of winter can only be soothed by two cozy comforts: early sightings of crocuses poking through the icy soil, and having a fresh-baked loaf of Irish Soda Bread on the kitchen counter as often as possible.
In my desperate-for-joy brain, soda bread brings the promise of spring, and acts as the ultimate teaser in anticipation of one of my family’s biggest celebrations of the year: St. Patty’s Day!
We gather at my cousins’ house after the big parade, we wear green and or those corny corded sweaters and wool caps, someone plays piano and we sing “Danny Boy” and “Whiskey in the Jar” together. We eat corned beef, sip stout and, those who know a real Irish reel kick up their heels while the rest of us fake it. We play games and pass around hugs and listen to stories of the old days, when the generations who preceded us broke their backs working in the mills up and down the rivers of Pittsburgh. They tell stories of riding the street cars and making ends meet during the Depression, and about the time they finally got a bathroom installed in the house on Lydon Street.
And after experimenting I’ve resolved to always make my own ‘buttermilk,’ which is a simple and cheap swap that pays homage to Mimi, who did everything herself, and it actually makes a better-tasting bread than store-bought kind, imho.
Tips before baking: For the best, most authentic-tasting soda bread, be sure to use fresh ingredients. Don’t over-knead your dough, despite the fact that you’ll be tempted to because this stuff gets really goopy. Bake it in a cast iron pan if you have one for that rustic, artisan quality. And be patient while it bakes until it gets golden-brown, because you’ll want to make sure the center is cooked all the way through.
Enjoy! And I wish you all a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Irish Soda Bread by The Reductionist
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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