Brown Soda Bread: the Irish connection


Food writer, broadcaster and author Caroline Hennessy has been focused on food and writing since editing Ireland’s first food website for RTÉ in 2000. Chair of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild, she established the award-winning Bibliocook: All About Food in 2005, is the author of two books about beer and food and has a column in the Irish Examiner in which she writes about small food producers and the ways in which they develop and maintain a sustainable local food system.

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4 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    I’ve been making this over here for a while now – it’s next to impossible to get in Sydney.I’m using my mum’s recipe, which is very similar to the above, except without a tin – the dough is just formed into a large circular ‘pattie’ which is then scored crossways with a knife.One important thing is that you should never knead the dough – if you do, the texture will end up a bit ‘cakey’.Don’t forget that the perfect accompaniment to soda bread (aside from the obligatory butter & jam) is smoked salmon (lemon and black pepper recommended).

  2. Caroline says:

    Rob: The only reason that I used a tin was because the slices from the stale loaf would fit in the toaster as the Kiwi kitchen is ill-equipped in the grilling department. I always make sure that there’s some of the loaf left over as toasted brown soda bread, dripping with butter and topped with homemade jam, is one of my weaknesses.

    According to a pocket Irish cookery book that arrived in the post yesterday morning (thanks mum!) the cross that is cut into the top of the cake of bread is supposed to bring the blessing of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit on to the bread. I always thought it was so the fairies could find their way out!

  3. Rob says:

    You’re right! I remember now that about the fairies! That brings me back.On the other hand, I did read somewhere that it was to help the centre cook a little better, which would prevent the damp patch you mentioned (if you make the cuts nice and deep, the loaf rises around them, neatly quartering it, while also allowing the heat to penetrate deeper into the centre).

  4. Caroline says:

    That would make much more sense – but not be as nice a story!

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