Irish Sidebrown soda bread

Brown Soda Bread
(Makes 1 loaf)

A good hearty stew needs only brown soda bread to complete it...and to sop up the gravy, right? That's how the Irish do it.

2 C flour
2 T sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 T butter (softened)
1 C buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a small cookie sheet. In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Rub in softened butter till butter is in small pieces. Add buttermilk, and quickly mix with a fork just until dry ingredients are moistened. Mixture will be very soft.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently until smooth. Shape into a ball and place on cookie sheet. Flatten to a 7” circle, and slice dough into quarters, cutting almost through the dough, but not quite. Bake for 30-40 minutes, and rub the top with butter after removing from the oven. Remove quarters one at a time and slice as needed.

If you have time, don't miss this fascinating historical overview of Irish Brown Soda Bread. At European Cuisine.

| See more Irish recipes |

Tips & Glossary

A special note about these recipes: they came from my friend Nan who lived in Ireland for several years. She married an Irishman, and the two returned to the US with their then-young family. These recipes are some of the family standbys. Nan is both a discerning reader and a wonderful cook.

Irish cooking is quite familiar to many Americans, and so you won't find surprises in the ingredient or spice lists. You probably have much of what's called for in your pantry—or else it's readily available in any grocery store.

Root vegetables are a staple of the Irish: potatoes, carrots, and parsnips are particular favorites. In Ireland, vegetables are served simply, but with lots of butter.

Meats are subjected to the slow-cook method. That's because, historically, the Irish used less-expensive, tougher cuts of meat. Our Irish Lamb Stew, for instance, actually calls for meat from the lamb's neck, not exactly the most tender cut of meat.


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