There’s no better day to make Irish white soda bread then on a cold, wet Dublin morning just before St. Paddy’s Day. And there’s no better cookbook to make a recipe from than Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course which, in my opinion, should be a staple in any cookbook collection.
I don’ know if you remember when my sister, Pina, came to Ireland last summer but on our way back from Cork we stopped at the Ballymaloe House and ate at The Cafe At The End Of The Shop (which it literally is). It is a cozy little cafe that served us absolutely delicious, fresh food. But the best part of it was…Darina Allen was sitting at a table behind us having her lunch too!
Darina is an Irish icon. Along with the renown Ballymaloe House, she has written countless cookbooks, starred in cooking shows….she is a culinary celebrity in Ireland.
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland and planning to stay around the Cork area a stop in Shanagarry and the Ballymaloe House is a must.
White Soda Bread
Taken from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course
- 450g (1lb) plain white flour, preferably unbleached
- 1 level tsp salt
- 1level tsp baking soda(bread soda)
- about 400ml of buttermilk (I used Kilbeg’s artisan buttermilk)
Sieve the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre. Pour in all the milk at once. Using 1 hand, with your fingers, in a full circular motion, draw the flour in from the centre to the outside of the bowl. The dough should be softish, not too sticky and wet. When it comes together turn it out on a well floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands. Tidy it up and flip it over gently. Pat the dough into a round about 4cm (1 1/2in) deep. Cut a deep cross on the top of the loaf and prick in the four corners (according to Irish folklore this is to let the fairies out!)
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 475f then turn it down to 400f and bake for 30 minutes until cooked. If you are in doubt, tap the bottom and if it sounds hollow, it’s done.
Like Darina says “it only takes 2-3 minutes to make, and 20-30 bake”. How much simpler can that get? The kids can even help you make this on on St. Patrick’s day. It is best eaten hot with butter and jam.
Darina also suggests eating the soda bread on the day it’s made. After you’ve tried this with butter and jam for breakfast or served with some tea, I don’t see it lasting any longer than that!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
Originally from Windsor, Rose is currently living in Dublin, Ireland. She is a graphic designer who is passionate about food. Her dog, Winnie, shares the same passion and supports Rose in all her cooking adventures….just as long as she gets 10%.