Happy St Patrick’s Day!

St Patrick’s Day totally slipped my mind this morning. I knew it was sometime around about this weekend but hadn’t actually worked out when it was. It was only when I was flicking through a free magazine from Sainsbury’s that I actually worked out that it’s today. In said magazine, they had a simple-looking recipe for Irish soda bread that I decided would be a great tribute to the saint’s day without having to involve Guiness or shamrocks or bright green glitter! I ought to mention at this point that despite apparently having Irish ancestry (though everybody seems to), I’m not actually Irish and have no reason to celebrate St Patrick’s Day other than a tenuous school-based connection!

Anyway, back to the baking. One of the items on my as-yet-unfinished list of ’30 things to do before I’m 30′ is ‘bake a decent loaf of bread’. Technically, I managed that today, but I’ve decided it doesn’t count, as it’s actually yeast-based bread that I have the problems with when I make it, and the Irish soda bread is yeast-free.

I’ve reproduced the recipe below as I can’t find it on the Sainsbury’s website to link to. Hopefully they won’t mind!

Irish Soda Bread

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
250g wholemeal plain flour
1tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp cream of tartar
1tsp caster sugar
25g unsalted butter, diced
300ml cultured buttermilk (I could only find 284ml pots of buttermilk and that amount worked fine)
75-100ml semi-skimmed milk

1. Preheat the oven to 190C, fan 170C, gas 5

2. Place the flours, salt, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and sugar together in a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips.

3. Stir in the buttermilk and enough milk (start with 75ml) to mix to a stiff consistency, taking care not to overmix. Knead very lightly, then shape into a ball and flatten slightly.

4. Place the dough on a lightly floured baking tray. Cut a cross about 1.5cm deep in the centre, and bake for 45-50mins until risen and golden, and the centre of the cross feels firm. Remove from the oven and wrap in a clean tea towel to cool. Best eaten on the day of making, this is also good toasted the day after.

Recipe (c) Sainsbury’s.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Mmm melty buttery goodness

Have you done anything special for St Patrick’s Day?



2 responses to “Happy St Patrick’s Day!

  1. Looks lovely! I find with the soda bread recipe I have that I always need more buttermilk – although I gather that semi-skimmed milk is a good replacement. I use the Baker Brothers recipe: http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/tv-show-recipes/the-fabulous-baker-brothers-recipes/soda-bread-recipe

    Which also has the bonus of being a little simpler in terms of ingredients. I’ve recently added cheese and herbs which goes very very well.

    • Ooh, I’ll give the Fabulous Baker Brothers’ recipe a go too… Have to say, adding cheese and herbs to an already-amazing-tasting bread sounds like a brilliant idea!

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