We’ve got to hand it to the Irish, when it comes to celebrating they know how to do it. We’re getting hungry just thinking about St. Patrick’s Day: hearty beer, delicious beef, potatoes, braised cabbage…and bread. Who can forget the bread, especially Irish oatmeal soda bread?
While the earliest records indicate that it was the Native American, not the Irish, who first used soda in baking bread, it’s the Irish who now get the credit for making some of the best soda bread around. It is believed that the basic recipe of flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk was developed as a way to make bread—the staple of so many diets—without the need for yeast. This not only saved time and money, but it often produced a more consistent loaf of bread.
So, soda bread was born, and it’s been thriving not only in Ireland, but around the world in the centuries since it’s first recipe.In honor of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, here’s a delicious oatmeal soda bread recipe, incorporating locally produced ingredients. It makes a wonderful accompaniment to the classic corned beef and cabbage or Irish-inspired Guinness stew, but is delicious for any occasion.The simple ingredients, easy recipe and lack of rise time may make this bread one of your new favorites. Really, who can turn down homemade bread fresh from the oven?
Irish Oatmeal Soda Bread
Adapted from Epicurious.com
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup Snoqualmie Falls Lodge Oatmeal, plus additional for sprinkling on the bread
2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. In a large bowl sift together 2 ¼ cup unbleached white flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, whole wheat flour and oats.
3. Add buttermilk and egg. Stir until it forms a dough.
4. Turn onto a floured board and knead, adding in as much of the remaining ¼ cup of unbleached white flour as necessary to form a manageable but sticky dough.
5. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a round loaf and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle loaves with additional oats and dust with flour.
6. Using a wet knife, make an “X” on the top of each loaf.
7. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes, until lightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Allow to cool on a rack before slicing and enjoying.
Editor’s note: Revised. Sadly, our recipe photo was swallowed up in a technology storm. We are indebted to Isabelle @ Crumb for sharing her image via flickr. We think it’s a pretty darn close representation.