Getting Ready for the Green

This Friday is St. Patrick’s Day. With the name O’Toole I have no choice but to celebrate, right?.

We will have stew made with Guinness Beer and Irish soda bread to go with it. I can’t wait!

Of course, I will have on my St. Patrick’s day shirt and I even have green color for streaks in my hair.

What is Irish Soda Bread?

The essential ingredients in a traditional Irish soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The acid in buttermilk reacts with the base of the baking soda to provide the bread’s leavening.

You can bake it in a cast iron frying pan –the traditional way- or on a regular baking sheet. I will use a regular baking sheet this year because I will be making two of these loaves to feed the crowd.

Soda bread dries out quickly so is only good for a day or two. It is best eaten freshly baked, warm from the oven and slathered with butter.

Irish Soda Bread

• 4 cups all-purpose flour (can substitute 1/2 the all-purpose flour with whole wheat if you like)
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups buttermilk (I usually don’t purchase buttermilk but use the substitutions below so I don’t waste the left-over milk.)


In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, baking soda and salt. Make a well in middle of the flour, and add buttermilk all at once. 

Use your hands to mix buttermilk into flour to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Lightly knead the dough a few times to make a smooth ball.

Place loaf onto parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. With sharp knife, score a large ‘X’ on the top of the dough. Bake in the center of a 425 F (220 C) oven for about 35 minutes. The loaf is done when browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Serve warmed with butter and honey.

There are a number of substitutes for buttermilk in baking. For each cup of buttermilk, you can use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes. (I use vinegar when I am making mine.) You can also use 1 cup of plain yogurt or 1-3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar plus 1 cup milk.

Thanks to Canadian Living Magazine Website for this recipe. I’ve taken the liberty to change it to suit my taste.

About Linda O'Toole

Women's Fiction Author
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