Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread

Irish Soda Bread Loaf

I’ve been making Irish Soda Bread for years.  And I’ve certainly posted my fair share of soda bread recipes over the years.  However, this recipe is definitely the easiest of the bunch to assemble.  While the usual suspects appear in the ingredient list of this less than traditional recipe, the dough includes the addition of an egg so there is no need to knead.  Just combine the ingredients with a spatula or wooden spoon and drop the moist dough into a standard-sized loaf pan. The result… A less crumbly loaf that’s a bit more moist as compared to the traditional bread round or scone. This loaf slices beautifully.  

I hope you have a few spare moments  to “throw on the kettle” and assemble this delicious Irish Soda Bread Loaf. There’s nothing like a fresh pot of tea with a thick slice of this gorgeous bread slathered with butter and homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam.

Irish Soda Bread Loaf

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups raisins 

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

A handful of old fashioned oats for the topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, baking soda and raisins. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle old fashioned oats over the batter; press lightly. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, Food, Gifts, Toppings

Homemade Triple Berry Jam

Our family loves the taste of homemade jam.  In fact, store bought jam or jelly products just don’t cut it in our household anymore.  While it might seem a chore to cook and carefully process the product, new tools and techniques have truly made canning your own food quite easy.  Making freezer jam is also a great option for those wanting to assemble their own recipe in far less time.  

While I’d love to tell you that this is a secret family recipe, home food preservation involves a careful balance of ingredients and it’s something that I never fool around with.  I always choose and carefully follow a reputable recipe when I’m canning foods for my family.  The reason…these recipes have been well tested for food safety.  Processing times, ingredient quantity, and acidity levels have all been checked and rechecked to eliminate the possibility of food borne illness in the products we hope to safely store on our shelves.

Our favorite way to enjoy this scrumptious treat would be to have the jam slathered all over a great big slice of Irish Soda Bread. While  I’m fond of butter and jam, others in the family love the peanut butter and jam combination.  You can find the recipes for my Irish Soda Bread/Scones here and here

Getting back to the homemade jam, this delicious recipe is one that was carefully tested by Sure Jell, which is a fruit pectin company that makes a product to be used to thicken jams or jellies. You can find the recipe here.

I’ve always had great success with this low sugar recipe and the large fruit pieces in the jam make for a lovely texture and add to the delicious fresh flavor of the product.  

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Food

Sweet Irish Soda Bread

As we begin the new year, the brutal Midwestern winds and the lake effect snow machine are both working hard to bring us record low temperatures and extreme weather conditions. Many local schools/businesses are closed again today and I am anticipating a difficult commute to work this morning. As the sun comes up and the traffic begins to build, I will be keeping an eye on the posted travel alerts as I may, very well choose to work from home today.
While everyone is still tucked warm in their beds, I’ve decided to get an early start and begin baking a few items as we may be hunkered down indoors for a while. The warmth of the oven will certainly help to heat the chilly kitchen. It seems the heater is working double time to try to keep up with the thermostat.
Recently, I saw a post for Irish Soda Bread that caught my eye. You can find it posted as Irish Raisin Bread at “If I Only Had A Time Machine”. The recipe included many ingredients that I don’t typically add to my mother’s traditional recipe. With a few variations, I made the loaf for my family on Monday night. Boy, everyone certainly enjoyed the new flavors and textures of this recipe. Last night, I sliced up the last of the bread and vowed that I would soon make a few more loaves.
So, along with a pan of baked oatmeal, I think I’ll be making another batch of bread this morning. I’m sure the warmth of the oven and the smell of freshly baking bread with help to shake of the winter blues as we have many more months of this crazy weather ahead of us. (I just looked it up… we have 70 days and twelve hours left until the arrival of Spring.) Bundle up and stay warm!

Sweet Irish Soda Bread
(Adapted from If I Only Had A Time Machine)

cups Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 cup Butter or Margarine, cold
2 cups Raisins
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Rum Extract or Irish Whiskey
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cups Buttermilk or Sour Milk
2 tablespoons Old Fashioned Oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two round cake or pie pans.
Combine first seven (dry) ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Cut in butter or margarine until the texture resembles course crumbs. Add raisins. In a separate bowl mix remaining (wet) ingredients. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients forming a soft dough. Place dough onto a floured surface and knead well. Form into round cakes, place in prepared pans. Slice a light cross down the center of the loaves and sprinkle with oats. Bake for 40-50 minutes.



Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Food

Just Like Grandma’s Irish Brown Bread

When I was a young girl, my family used to travel to Ireland every year for our summer holiday. My father worked for TWA (Trans World Airlines) and we had a great travel benefit that we regularly used. My mother was born and raised in County Clare and my father from County Kerry. Our wonderful trips into Milltown Malbay, Spanish Point or visiting Ballybunion always bring the fondest of memories.
Oh, the stories I could tell of the laughs we shared as a family. We would load our tiny rental car up with 8 kids, two adults, and lots of luggage. Relatives would meet us at Shannon Airport and take on a portion of our luggage as we headed toward Milltown.
One of my most vivid memories relates to my grandmother, my mother’s mom. She would get up early to milk the cows and feed the chickens. Then, she would come indoors and bake the most amazing bread. Now, this bread was like nothing I had ever tasted before. Sure, my mom and all the aunts baked their own version of Irish Soda Bread or scones but this was different. The bread was a hearty, textured loaf made with whole wheat flour. She would mix it up by hand, in a huge stoneware bowl (maybe a Green’s or Mason Cash Brand).
I have tried on several occasions to replicate the recipe and this is as close as I have come to the original. If any of you would like to share your recipe for your version of Irish Brown Bread, I would so appreciate it!
If you’re a fan of Irish Soda Bread, check out my family recipe for Mary’s Irish Scones here.

Just like Grandma’s Irish Brown Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons cold butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture forms fine crumbs. Stir in whole-wheat flour and oats. Add buttermilk; stir mixture gently. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead 5-10 times to make a ball. Set on a baking sheet. Pat into a 7-inch circle. With a floured knife, cut a large X on top of loaf. Bake until well browned, about 30-35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.