Irish in Another Life?


Am rounding out my bread-making streak with Irish Soda Bread, in honour of the day. Up until my recent forays into yeast breads, this was the only bread I ever attempted, using a (lost) recipe from the (sadly) now defunct Gourmet Magazine.  (Update - am happy to report that I found my original recipe from Gourmet and so have shared that also!) Still obsessed with the ATK / Cook’s Illustrated, All Time Best Bread Recipes publication, I decided to try theirs.

In a recent interview on CBC, America’s Test Kitchen’s Christopher Kimball acknowledged that they spend on average $12,000 testing each recipe – that represents hours of (hu)manpower and ingredients. End result, in my experience, has been that their recipes are reliable and almost foolproof. I say ‘almost’ because I can sometimes find some way of goofing things up a wee bit.

I began to make Irish Soda Bread after our first (of several) trips to Ireland. I have always been much more drawn to walking on cool windy beaches than hot southern ones. I can’t be the only person who has felt an inexplicable peaceful bond with a place they visited. Though I have no known Irish genes, I always felt at home there, and used to joke that I must have lived there in another life. (As a footnote, my brother loves green, celebrates St. Patrick's Day, and is always fêted by his family on this day. Maybe there are some Irish genes lurking in there somewhere. My daughter-in-law just reminded me that she is 40% Irish - too bad she's not here to break bread with me.)

Gap of Dunloe,   Source Tom Pulman

Gap of Dunloe, Source Tom Pulman

Once we had children, we took them there. As a child, son #2 had bright red hair and for the first time saw many other youngsters who “looked like him”. Hiking in the Gap of Dunloe we achieved five minutes of fame as we were featured on an Irish travel show. We were meant to be an Irish family and they felt it necessary to drag a few more kiddies into the shot – seemingly, at the time, an Irish family was unlikely to have only two children!

A “fresh bread” craving can be quickly satisfied by this bread. In Ireland, it appears at all meals – next to stew at supper time, and with breakfast. It is a slightly sweet bread, so I like it best with butter and jam – of course that can be eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks – yay! Happy St. Patrick's Day! Sláinte!

Here's the recipe. If you enjoyed this read or the recipe, please click on "Like". I invite you to Share and Comment!