When one thinks of Irish cuisine things like potatoes, coddle, bacon & cabbage and stew often jump to mind. However, one of the most popular Irish foods is what we refer to as “Brown Bread”. Irish Soda Bread, is commonly made using ingredients such as flour, baking soda (or bread soda), salt and buttermilk – it’s the lactic acid in the buttermilk which reacts with the baking soda causing the bread to rise!
As time has progressed the recipes for brown bread have evolved with people often substituting Guinness instead of the buttermilk (which makes the bread the perfect side for a portion of Guinness Stew). And plenty of other recipes now include different seeds and nuts to increase the healthiness of the bread.
Traditionally though the recipe for the perfect brown bread is the following:
What you need
- 200g of Cream Flour
- 250g of Wholemeal Flour
- 1 teaspoon of Bread Soda
- 1 level teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
- 25g butter
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 250-400 ml of buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 210°C / Gas Mark 7.
- Lightly grease a deep cake tin or two loaf tins.
- Sieve the cream flour, salt, bread soda and cream of tartar into a bowl.
- Add the wholemeal flour and mix well.
- Rub in the butter.
- Mix the egg and buttermilk together, and add the liquid to the dry ingredients. Mix into a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured board and knead.
- Place into the prepared tins.
- Bake for 15 minutes approximately, before reducing to 190°C / Gas Mark 5 for a further 30 minutes.
- When cooked it should have a hollowed sound when tapped from underneath.
- Wrap in a clean tea towel, and allow to cool.
And there you have it! A traditional piece of Irish cuisine. Do try this recipe out, and of course experiment with it, adding seeds, nuts, porridge oats or even honey.