Mrs. O’Callaghan’s Soda Bread

Spring is in the air! Granted, we just survived our first torrential downpour of the weekend…complete with thunder and a total drenching as I went out for some last minute ingredients and to pick up the absolute gem of all seasonable beers, but regardless, spring is in the air! Can you smell the green about to spring forth from the recently thawed earth? Hear the birds chirping in the bright early morning?

One of my fondest memories that I associate with spring is enjoying a good slice of irish soda bread, slathered in butter of course, while sitting on my porch during a light spring rain…enjoying both the rustic goodness of the bread that seems a perfect complement to the earthy smells of a spring rain as it hits the ground and brings forth the first bits of green from the ground.

This weekend provided the perfect opportunity to partake and my latest issue of Bon Appétit just happened to be obliging enough to provide a recipe for soda bread which seemed simple, quick, easy, and a sure fire winner with over 45 years of success.

The dough here came together pretty quickly, nothing overly complicated outside of measuring and cutting the butter into the flour. After adding the buttermilk, the dough will seem rather dry, but resist the urge to continue kneading. This is a quick rise bread, utilizing only baking soda for its leavening agent. You’ll want to quickly mix and form the loaf and get it into the oven asap to yield a good and tender loaf.

And good and tender this loaf is! The crust has a slightly crumbly texture, but the inside is soft and inviting. Boasting a lovely, rustic flavor, it leaves behind a slight tinge of sweetness on your palette. Slather on some good irish butter, and you should be all set to go…whether to enjoy the spring rains or to have with a good, hearty meal of stew, the possibilities are endless!

Mrs. O’Callaghan’s Soda Bread
Adapted from Bon Appétit, March 2010

Yields 1 very large loaf


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (1/2 stick butter) chilled butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 cups buttermilk


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a heavy baking sheet with nonstick spray. Whisk both flours, sugar, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend. Add butter and cut in until butter is reduced to pea-sized pieces, Add buttermilk, stir until a shaggy dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until dough comes together, about 10 turns. Shape dough into a 7 inch round loaf. Place dough on prepared baking sheet. Cut a large X, 1/2 inch deep, in top of dough.

Bake bread until deep brown and bottom sounds hollow when firmly tapped, about 40 minutes. Transfer bread to rack and cool completely.


~ by tastydesu on March 15, 2010.

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