Category: Irish Soda Bread

50 Women Game-Changers in Food -#38 – Darina Allen – Brown Soda Bread

50 Women Game-Changers in Food -#38 – Darina Allen – Brown Soda Bread

That’s it. I’m leaving home.  I always wondered where I’d get my cooking credentials (other than living in my kitchen) and now I know.  I’m going to the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork, Ireland.  I’ll see you later.  It’s time I earned my toque… or at least an apron that says, ” Ballymaloe.”

Ireland:  Cliffs of Moher                                                                                                                         (copyright Alyce Morgan, 2003)

   Ok, I’m not.  But I’d like to.   Meantime,  just in time for St. Patty’s Day, I’m baking some bread from the Cookery School’s founder and Ireland’s best chef-teacher, Darina Allen, number 38 in Gourmet Live’s list of 50 Women Game-Changers in Food:

(Courtesy Koster Photography)

When Americans make or think about Irish Soda Bread, which they only do in March of every year, they think about the American take on the bread (think chop suey), which I adore and make as often as anyone:

Here’s my own American version.  Please have a little bread with your butter.

But if you go to Ireland and stop in a hotel or restaurant for breakfast (or other meal), you find that the soda bread is whole wheat.  Dense, thick, sturdy, filling.  Perfect smothered with lots of beautiful Irish butter and jam or, even better, dipped in a deep, dark mug of tea.  And, should you not think about it, this bread is a chunky, dunky sideshow for stew or soup, as well as tasty sandwich bread.   Get ready to dirty your hands and bake up!

darina allen’s brown soda bread

400g (14oz) wholemeal flour (about 3 cups)
75g (3oz) plain white flour, (Darina specifies unbleached if you can get it) (about 3/4 cup)
1 tsp salt,  (Darina specifies dairy salt, which is finer, but I used regular old table salt.)
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda, sieved  (baking soda)
1 egg
1 tbsp sunflower oil  (I used canola oil)
1 teaspoon honey ( or treacle or soft brown sugar)
425ml (¾ pint) buttermilk  (or add 2 tbsp of lemon juice to 600 ml (1 pint) milk)

Method

Grease a loaf tin (I used 9x5x3) with vegetable oil. Preheat the oven to 200°c (gas mark 6).  (about 400 degrees Fahrenheit)
Put the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and mix well.  Make a well in the centre ready for the wet ingredients.
Whisk the egg and add it to the oil, honey (or treacle or sugar), and the buttermilk (or lemon juice/milk mixture).
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and using your clean hands mix well.  The dough should be very sticky, Darina describes it as ‘soft and slightly sloppy’, if it’s not add more buttermilk. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour.
To test take it out of its tin and tap the bottom, if it’s cooked it will sound hollow.
Allow to cool before eating if you can manage it.

Recipe courtesy The Ordinary Cook   
My cook’s notes are in red.

Use the other side of your measuring cups for this one; you need 425 ml of buttermilk.

I weighed both flours for accuracy.

Full “well”

Smooth it out as best you can in a greased pan.

 

Very healthy wholewheat bread, but quite yummy with a little butter and jam.

the skinny on darina
I don’t know how she does it….

Owner of Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Co Cork, Ireland, teacher, food writer, newspaper columnist, cookbook author and television presenter. School is situated on an organically run farm.
Graduate in Hotel Management, Dublin Institute of Technology.
Member of Taste Council of Irish Food Board, Chair of Artisan Food Forum of Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Food Safety Consultative Council of Ireland, Trustee of Irish Organic Centre, Patron of Irish Seedsavers.
Cooking Teacher of the Year Award from IACP 2005, Recipient of Honorary Degree from University of Ulster 2003, Winner of Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year 2001, Waterford Wedgwood Hospitality Award 2000, Langhe Ceretto Prize 1996, Laois Person of the Year 1993…and more.
 courtesy Ballymaloe Cookery School;  County Cork, Ireland.

Want to read other bloggers who are following the 50 Women Game-Changers in Food story? There are a lot of good blogs out there; read on!

Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living  Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen – Bake Away with Me, Sue – The View from Great Island Barbara – Movable Feasts , Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen Annie – Most Lovely Things, Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades

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Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day

Sing a new song and join me on my daily Lenten blog,
Alyce

St. Patrick’s Day Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread-A Repeat Post

St. Patrick’s Day Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread-A Repeat Post

I had a farm in Ireland…….
——————————————————————–
Not.  I did, however, visit once.
I wish I could go back.
I can’t go today, but I can make Potato Soup and Irish Soda Bread on
St. Patrick’s Day……
———————————————————————–
I’ve been making this meal for a long time.  I love it, but I don’t make it any other time of the year.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps it wouldn’t be special if I made it, say, in May or September.  You, however, have no holiday strings emotionally strumming over these recipes and could make them next week or next year.
Go you.  So, here’s the soup………..and then the bread–
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Potato Soup
2 slices of bacon, diced; 1/4# Canadian bacon, chopped*
2 onions (different kinds are nice), chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 leeks, chopped
3 large pototoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces, optional
6-8 cups unsalted chicken broth
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
parsley or dill
In an 8-10qt soup kettle, sauté bacon until about half-done; add Canadian bacon.  Cook until well browned.  Remove meats  from pot and drain on paper towel-lined plate.  Cool and  refrigerate until you’re going to serve the soup.  Pour out all but enough bacon grease to coat the bottom of the pan well.  Add onions, garlic and leeks and saute until almost golden, stirring often.  Add potatoes, turnip and parsnip and cook 2-3 minutes until hot.  Add chicken broth.  Bring to a  boil and lower the heat.  Simmer until all vegetables are soft, about 25 minutes. 
Salt and pepper to taste.    Puree in food processor, with hand-held blender or by hand using potato masher.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a bit of the bacon and ham and a garnish of fresh parsley or dill.  Make sure there’s fresh ground pepper at the table.
*You could choose to use all bacon.
There isn’t much better than soup and bread anywhere.  If you’re cold.  If you’re really hungry.  Can you think of anything better?  I have a friend whose husband doesn’t like soup,  Just doesn’t like it at all.  He did, however, eat soup at my house once.  And asked for the recipe later.  Such folks are few and far between.  Who doesn’t walk in a house, smell soup simmering or bread baking and go, “Wow!  It just smells so good in here.”  And, while we can’t always put our fingers on what makes us happy in life, we do know we like it when the house smells like something good to eat.  Those  “Wow”s come with big smiles and anticipatory movements that include looking around for the delighting elements.  So, here’s the bread.  More on the provenance later.
Irish Soda Bread – American Style
4 cups flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
1/4 c butter
1 1/2 c currants or raisins
1 1/3 c buttermilk
2 large eggs (3 if at altitude)
1 t baking soda
Grease a 2-quart  round bowl (ovenproof), casserole or  deep cake pan. (Or bake free-form on a parchment lined baking sheet.)
Preheat oven to 375F.
In food processor, or large mixing bowl, measure dry ingredients except baking soda and mix well.  Cut in with blade attachment or with knives or pastry blender, the butter.  In a large mixing cup, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs; add the currants and baking soda.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix well to form a very wet dough.
Turn dough into the prepared baking bowl and bake for about an hour or until bread is very well-browned and firm in the center.  A wooden skewer stuck in the middle of the bread should come out clean.  You may have to test several times.
Let this bread sit 15-20 minutes before cutting or it will crumble.  Cool completely before wrapping tightly in foil and storing in the refrigerator.  Will keep 3-4 days.
 Excellent leftover just as it is, but even better for toast made under the broiler.
2012 update:  If you’d like to make whole wheat Irish Soda bread (very traditional), read my post on Darina Allen’s bread here.
  
copyright 2012 alyce morgan
 
Me and the green.
A couple of notes on the provenance of the recipes:
I began (and later changed) the potato soup years ago from a recipe called  “A Cold Winter’s Day Potato Soup” from THE EASTERN JUNIOR LEAGUE COOK BOOK, edited by Ann Serrane and published by David McKay in ??1980.
The bread recipe is one I have no idea about from whence it came.  It’s on a recipe card I’ve had for so many years.  I’d guess I copied it out of a magazine or a book at the library one day as a young wife.
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THE TWO-DOG KITCHEN IS REALLY SOMETHING ELSE AS TUCKER HITS FOUR MONTHS……

 

While we are making the potato soup, Tucker tries to figure out if he likes onions skins.   Nah….
Sing a new song,
Alyce
all photographs copyright Alyce Morgan 2003 and 2010
PLEASE NOTE:  ORIGINALLY POSTED IN MARCH OF 2010…..REPEATING BECAUSE IT’S GOOD.   Happy St. Patrick’s Day, 2011!