Having an Irish husband, I had heard a lot about Irish Soda Bread but had not actually eaten much of it until my granddaughters took Irish dance lessons. When I volunteered for their dance school, I met a lady who baked and sold lovely slices of the bread with butter and strawberry jam for fundraising. This was absolutely delicious and I definitely wanted to learn to make it for my family. She invited me to come to her house the next time she was making it and I was off. Later, when my son, who is a Chef, became the Executive Chef in an Irish Restaurant, I started baking loaves for him to serve. I would make about 16 to 24 loaves a week. I would pre-measure the dry ingredients into containers and have them all ready so I just needed to add the liquids on the day of baking. I also continued to make it for my family and extended family (their Irish cousins and friends). Now I am teaching my daughter and granddaughters to bake it. It has now become one of our family traditions. Although I am of French heritage, I believe it has added to my children’s Irish customs and traditions.
Here’s our first attempt at a video tutorial. (Apologies for the radio in the background.)
Kat and J here:
Well, today was the easiest (and the most almond-free…which is of great benefit to some of our family members with nut allergies) recipe we’ve tried so far! Today was also a lesson in comparing tradition with new ways of doing things. For a twist on this week’s challenge, we decided to do a comparative side-by-side of both the recipe in Baking with Julia and the recipe our grandmother acquired from a friend a few years ago. After learning to knead the dough (and trying to pry the remnants off of our fingers), we placed our loaves in the oven. The result was an interesting comparison. While the cookbook’s recipe was a perfectly textured, mild tasting bread, there was just something about the recipe we’d used time and time again that made it that much more special. Perhaps it was the extra ingredients, or the switch from white to whole wheat flour. Nevertheless, we were all very proud of the resulting awesomeness of the masses of Irish soda bread that will serve as snacktime fodder for the next several days…if it lasts even that long…