I wanted to make Irish Soda Bread for Saint Patrick’s Day, but before I got it made, Easter had arrived. This bread actually tasted a lot better than it looks in the photograph, and it sliced beautifully. Oh, was it ever easy!
I cannot remember if I ever made this before, so I went to my favorite on-line Recipe Book – Elise’s and sure enough she had a nicely illustrated recipe. Then I got to wondering how authentic would it be to use a recipe from a Californian, so I went looking for something a bit more Irish.
The first I found claimed to be the “world authority” for “authentic” Irish Soda Bread. All I could find at that site, besides the pop up ads, were warnings of what ingredients NOT to use. No nuts! No raisins or even currants! No orange rind! No sugar, honey or treacle! What’s treacle? No eggs! No shortening! No whiskey! NO Whiskey?? And, … if you dare to use any of those forbidden ingredients – you will be making CAKE not bread! So there! Since I never did find Any recipe at all, I got bored and a bit rankled. Let them eat soda bread!
I tried another Irish site, and it was the opposite — too many recipes using too many ingredients, most of which I did not have on hand, especially the hot peppers. And again it was so full of advertising that I felt myself in a maze.
So it was back to Ms. California Elise’s and I “kinda” followed her instructions and all went well. Of course, as always, I improvised. I halved her recipe and since I didn’t feel like hunting to see if I had any pastry flour, I just used what was in the flour bin. I used table cream with vinegar instead of sour milk. I used a whole egg, instead of a half, since I halved the recipe. Yes, I used the sugar, even though the Irish site said it was verboten. And just to be extremely devilish, I used grated orange rind. I think that made the bread extra tasty. HA! Next time I going to go for the whiskey. After-all, it is IRISH bread, isn’t it? Here’s Elise’s recipe: http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives/004338irish_soda_bread.php
I cooked it in a Corning ware dish instead of cast iron and used a much lower temperature – 325 degrees, as I was in no hurry, and I didn’t want it to come out as brown as the one in Elise’s picture.
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