2.21.2008

I Thought I Was Making Irish Soda Bread


The Husband is Irish. One of those Irish guys that thinks his sunburn is a tan, has a million cousins who are all named John, Tom, and Mary Katherine, and enjoys an occasional beer or 4.

As the dutiful Polish wife of an Irishman, I prepare a traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner every St. Patrick's Day. As if once a year isn't enough, I decided to fire up the crock pot today and make a pre-St. Patrick's Day feast. As an accompaniment to the meal, I baked a couple big loaves of what I thought was Irish Soda Bread.

I decided to Google the history of Irish Soda Bread for a few bits of trivia to amaze and astound my family with during dinner tonight. One of the first facts I uncovered is that I have actually been making Spotted Dog for the last 17 years. Traditional soda bread contains only flour, baking soda, salt, and soured milk/buttermilk. Add raisins and it is Spotted Dog. Soda bread was introduced to Ireland in 1840. Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) was used along with soft wheat flour to make soda bread. The bread is baked in a round loaf with a cross marked on top. The cross is not a religious symbol, but rather a practical way to divide the bread into quarters.

I can live with eating corned beef and cabbage as often as I see a leprechaun. On the other hand, Spotted Dog slathered with an inordinate amount of butter makes my swoon. It is also a favorite of No Thank You Boy. Delight your family with this traditional Irish bread on St. Patrick's Day this year.

Spotted Dog

makes 2 large loaves

4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups white whole wheat flour (you can use all ap flour if you want)
1 and 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 and 1/2 cups raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
3 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and raisins in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and stir to combine. Turn dough out onto work surface and knead for about 2 - 3 minutes. Divide the dough in 2 pieces and shape into round loaves. Place on a greased baking sheet and cut an X in the top of each loaf. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the loaves are nicely browned and the internal temperature is about 200 degrees.

3 comments:

charcuterista said...

I've been eyeing recipes for corning my own beef this year. Thanks for the reminder that the day for that is coming up and quickly! The spotted dog looks great (and I love the name...)

Amy said...

We love spotted dog in our family. It is so easy to make I should make it more often. Good luck with your St. Patrick's Day recipes.

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

Corned beef and cabbage has to be one of the best meals going imho.