every year on st. patrick’s day, i try to make a loaf of soda bread. usually, i pull out my aunt’s recipe and make a loaf studded with currants and caraway seed. it’s a little bittersweet-she passed away years ago and it is hard to make it without thinking of all that she and the entire family had to endure those last few years. i’ve posted about the bread before and you can read about it here and if you are adventurous, make a loaf of the bread using the recipe-it is the best american-irish soda bread recipe around.
as a fan of irish soda bread, or what we yanks call irish soda bread, i was not completely surprised to hear that the familiar raisin filled loaf is not entirely authentic. it seems that the addition of raisins (or currants-my preference) and caraway seed is an american tradition. when raisins are added to the loaf in ireland, they call it cake or spotted dog. there actually is a society dedicated to the preservation of the traditional loaf and they have a website full of information and recipes. some time ago, my mother had sent me an article from a magazine with traditional soda bread recipes in it and if my house was not currently in flood induced shambles, i would have used the recipes. instead, i did a google search and compiled a recipe from two that i thought seemed reasonable.
less than 18 hours later, the bread has been devoured, my husband ate at least half of the loaf himself. i watched as he slathered each slice with butter. i ate the bread plain, dipping it into the vinaigrette that had pooled at the bottom of my salad plate-yes, i may be irish, but i am italian too and no italian can resist fresh baked bread with salad. since it was so quick and easy to make, i can do this any time i need bread-less than 10 minutes to measure, mix and shape. it took longer for the stone to heat in the oven!