Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Irish Soda Bread: A St. Patrick's Day Love Story

I have had a love/hate relationship with Irish Soda Bread.  I know its odd to have any kind of relationship with bread but these are very particular circumstances.  I married into a large Irish family and St. Patrick's Day is their JAM.  I mean, all Irish families celebrate St. Patrick's feast day but few families take this day to heart like my husband's family.  Its more like St. Patrick's Day month.  They party, they gather, they wear green.  They spend no expense rounding up the essentials,  green rainbow suspenders, hats, hats with attached leprechaun beards, bow ties, clay leprechauns pipes, chocolate gold coins, Shamrocks, rosaries (yes, green) Bailey's Irish Creme, Irish Stew, Ham & Cabbage and the exalted, ever present much anticipated Irish Soda Bread. (Cue the angel chorus) I believe your value as a person is only judged by the quality of your soda bread.  

Now, I come from a long line of wonderful cooks and bakers.  My Italian grandmother was just incredible in the kitchen, she cooked, canned, made home made sausage and wine, grew her own vegetables and was even credited with keeping her neighbors fed during the snowstorm of 1947.  But even she did not make Irish Soda Bread.  How hard could it be really, flour, raisins a little of this, a little of that.    Well, my torment began in the late 1990's when my early baking attempts were used as street hockey pucks by the neighbor kid.  I'm not even exaggerating, no one ate it, no one even attempted to eat it.  This is how it went for years, every year  I baked and every year there it sat untouched.  Until I met Mrs Wolfe.  Mrs. Wolfe was a wonderful teacher at my daughters elementary school.  Every St. Pat's Day she would bring in several beautiful golden loaves for everyone to share.  After several years of envy, I finally asked Mrs Wolfe what her secret was.  She simply laughed and said "Oh honey, its easy" and wrote down her recipe from memory.  I brought it home, tried it, and from that very first loaf PERFECTION!


I want all of you to have a LOVE relationship with this sweet Delicious and moist bread so I am sharing wonderful Mrs. Wolfe's recipe exactly like she gave it to me all those years ago.

Irish Soda Bread
1/2 cup Crisco
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp baking soda
1 egg whipped (with fork)
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup raisins

Mix all put in greased round cake pan bake for 45 mins @ 350

That's how Mrs. Wolfe wrote it out for me.  This is how I put it together:  Cream the Crisco and sugar together, add the egg.  Combine the dry ingredients and slowly add the dry to the wet ingredients adding the buttermilk a little at a time.  Put mixed ingredients in a round greased cake pan and bake.  That's it.

I hope you give it a try, maybe bake a few extra loaves, bring it to school and be that dear Mrs. Wolfe for someone else.

Call your Mama!
xoxo  Mickey



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