Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Irish Soda Bread - from a Machine!

During the last big snow I posted about the delicious Irish soda bread that I had made. I was going to make some this past weekend, too. i have gotten into the habit of baking bread every Sunday. I couldn't because I didn't have any buttermilk on hand, and I wanted to use it for this recipe.

So where did I get this recipe? Here, from the ChefMom website. It doesn't use a lot of ingredients, but unlike most I have seen (which probably work better with a timer than this one does), it uses liquid buttermilk. It also has raisins and caraway seeds. I am surprised to find out just how "traditional" our version of "Irish soda bread" actually is. As they report on Bread-Maker.net, traditional - authentic - Irish soda bread doesn't have raisins. Why would it? Most Irish would have been peasants that could barely afford anything like raisins. Ditto the caraway seeds, I assume. In fact, yeast was even a once-in-a-while luxury. So what went into traditional Irish soda bread? The author (Where's his name? He doesn't publish his name?) says:

The only ingredients found in the basic Irish Soda Bread eaten by the Irish for the last 150 years are baking soda, flour, salt and soured milk. That’s it. These days buttermilk is more common than soured milk, which is frankly a pain to purchase and inadvisable to make on you own, but other than that any substitutions make the word “Traditional” false advertising.
Yup. Soured milk. Makes sense, considering we're talking peasant food here. And since most Irish-Americans (like myself) are descended from those very same peasants, why not make it with those ingredients?

I smell a project on the horizon...


jmc said...

Soured milk isn't hard to make, really. Drop some vinegar into fresh milk, et voila, it sours.

I have a family recipe for chocolate cake that calls for sour milk, and adding a cap full of vinegar to the cup of milk makes a noticable difference in the taste.

Domy Gryfino said...

It sounds delicious although getting sour milk is very hard. And making it yourself requires some additional time.

Anonymous said...

I was just going to say, but was beaten by jmc, that if you add 1 Tbsp vinegar to milk it will turn sour.

I do hope you'll share the recipe. By the way, long-time reader, first-time poster. Nice to meet you. :-)

John said...

Y'all: Thanks for the suggestions about the milk.

Mycala: Thanks and welcome to the comments section!