There’s only a few more days to publicly celebrate my Irish heritage, so I thought I’d bake some Irish soda bread. Now, I’ve not ever baked Irish soda bread before. It’s been on my Pandemic Baking list.
I found a recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen of alexandracooks.com, after scouring the internet for an authentic traditional soda bread recipe. It had to be authentic – if I was to be true to my ancestors.
The authentic traditional recipes include only four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk.
Geez, seriously? This was going to be easy peasy.
When I landed on Alexandra’s page, she mentioned adding an egg, and a little sugar and butter. Now, this seemed to Americanize the Irish ways, but I’m trying to be open minded, ya know, instead of stuck in my ways – then, I realized, I don’t even have a way yet . . .
I appreciated Alexandra’s commentary about these added ingredients, which usually, I find “the story” of the recipe QUITE annoying with recipes online. Just cut to the chase and give me the recipe! my typical whine. But, in this case, I needed to know why one would mess with the Irish?
The author of this recipe made a bold statement in saying that the original version was edible, but she missed the scone-like texture, the richness that comes from the addition of butter.
Now, I wasn’t going to succumb to the false riches of the Americans – I wanted the real deal. Yet, as I was mixing the dry ingredients, I found my wicked mind had latched onto this author’s statement and was now taunting me.
What if for all this work – your Irish soda bread is only “edible”?
In the last minute, I added the sugar, butter and egg to the milk. It’s wasn’t THAT much, I rationalized.
Did I also tell you that I didn’t have buttermilk in the house?
Well, I knew you could substitute this with milk and lemon juice, so I searched online for specifications. Some recipes warned, Only use buttermilk! Other recipes said, You can substitute, but use whole or 2% milk with the lemon juice. I only had skim and Almond. Well, this was going to be an all – out gamble. Finally, I found a vegan site that said you could do it with Almond milk – no probs! So, I did.
So now, its a Vegan American Irish Soda Bread.
The dough seemed awfully sticky. One site said you gotta use your CLEAN hands – like claws. That’s how they did it in Ireland. So, I did that. I had to keep dipping them back in the flour though to make the dough behave.
I greased the heavy cast iron pan, after washing out the bacon grease. It might now have a little bacon flavor, too.
Next, I scooped the dough into the pan and worked with it to try and shape it into a nice ball. It wasn’t easy – still sticky. The knife I used to make a cross cut across the top didn’t do such a nice clean cut either – sticking to the dough besides. Hopefully, those fairies got out of there to ward off evil.
Finally, I shoved it in the oven, hoping to just end this ordeal.
I read some more Irish history while it baked, learned some useful Irish slang and had a message round about with my mother and sisters trying out my new slang. We laughed a lot.
40 minutes later, I pulled the bread out of the oven and cut into it. The middle was still doughy, so I put it back in the oven. I guess I should have flattened it a little more.
Finally, when completely baked all the way through, I had a taste slathered with some butter.
It didn’t really taste like bread.
It tasted more like scones – sweet and rich.
That’s not really what I wanted.
But, it was edible.
My husband wanted to try some so I gave some to him. He didn’t seem impressed either.
I guess my Irish taste buds know more than I do. I’ll try the real recipe next time.
I wrote it down to remember it.
I am participating in the 14th Annual SOL 2021 March challenge. For 31 days, I will attempt to write and share a small slice of life from my days. I’ve missed a couple of days, but I’m still at it! If you’d like to read more of today’s slices from other teacher-writers, please head over to twowritingteachers, who have also committed to this challenge.