Monday, 19 March 2012

Irish Soda Bread and Belated Happy St Patrick's Day

Everybody knows the story of St Patrick, and of how he fell off the giant ferris wheel and landed of a floor of sheep. Everybody also knows that St Patrick won the coveted PCP title (Pool Champion of Paradise) three centuries in a row, as well as that obscure story involving him, a talking cow, a rubber duck and a moustachioed barman. But not many people know of St Patrick's involvement with Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry.
Today, however, it's all about to change; it's time the world knew.
As most saints, St Patrick didn't start his career as a saint. In his particular line of work, it takes time to prove oneself, and promotions are slow to come. Also, like for apothecaries and notaries, there are only a limited amount of available job openings during any one lifetime. And so it was that the not-yet-saint Patrick was one day sitting on the Hill of Slane, head in his hands, and musing at his present situation. He could not understand why his application for a promotion wasn't being backed up by the higher-ups. He had done everything they had asked him to: herded sheep, grown a beard, converted a entire country – he had even found a shamrock! But no, that wasn't enough. Soon-to-be-saint Patrick was despairing. It was at that moment that he saw two travellers. They were obviously on holiday and enjoying themselves. He observed that they slowly walked up the same hill he was on, and wondered what would happen. When they had reached the top of the hill, hopefully-saint Patrick noticed that something about them was not quite normal. But he couldn't tell what. They turned towards him and started speaking with him. Soon the three of them had become fast friends, and damn-I-want-to-be-a-saint Patrick found himself opening his heart to them, telling them his sorrow and his worries. Finally, he touched upon the subject of his wished-for sainthood, and confessed that he didn't know further. At that, the two travellers (who of course were Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon), looked at each other and smiled. They told him not to worry, and gave him a meeting for the next night down at the local pub.
The next evening, at precisely 8.48pm, why-the-hell-am-I-not-saint Patrick arrived at the inn, spotted the two travellers and sat down next to them. On the table, apart from a generous quantity of weirdly-looking dark drinks, he saw an inviting loaf of bread. He was hungry. Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry explained to him that this bread was the last, missing element for his promotion to sainthood. It was such a good bread, that if he were to distribute it among the people, they'd be raptured and delighted. Their happiness-index would raise dramatically, which in turn would raise the opinion his superiors had of him, which in turn again would raise him above the clouds. I-might-actually-soon-become-a-saint Patrick tasted the bread and knew that they were telling the truth.
History tells us that he followed Divine Cherry's and Celestial Dragon's advice. But history also tells us that happiness and deliciousness must be shared. So now, after having consulted with finally-Saint Patrick, Celestial Dragon and Divine Cherry have decided to share the recipe for the saint-making bread with the whole world. Here it is:

Irish Soda Bread
- 170 g wholemeal flour
- 170 g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 290 ml  buttermilk

Preheat the oven at 200°C. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the buttermilk. Quickly mix the ingredients. Transfer the mixture on a working surface and knead briefly, then give it a round shape. The dough is very sticky at this stage but this is the way it should be! Put the dough on a floured baking tray, cut a cross on the top and bake for 30 minutes.

Note: This bread is better when eaten while it is still warm. Anyway, if you eat it also in the following days, it is better to warm it up a bit.

Irish Soda Bread
- 170 g farina integrale
- 170 g farina bianca
- 1 cucchiaino di bicarbonato di soda
- 1/2 cucchiaino di sale
- 290 ml di latticello (facilmente sostituibile con la stessa quantita di latte a cui vanno aggiunti 2 cucchiai di succo di limone)

Preriscaldare il forno a 200°C. In una ciotola capiente mescolare tutti gli ingredienti secchi.  Fare un buco nel centro e aggiungere  il latticello e mescolare velocemente. Trasferire il tutto sul piano di lavoro e impastare velocemente, l'impasto risultera' molto appiccicoso: va bene cosi'! Dare la forma alla pagnotta e riporla su una teglia ben infarinata. Incidere una croce sulla superifice e cuocere in forno per 30 minuti circa.

Nota: questo pane e' velocissimo e anche buono. Da' il meglio di s'e se mangiato appena pronto, ancora caldo. Non si conserva bene. Se avanza comunque e' buono scaldato sotto il grill un paio di minuti.

And Spread the Mess


  1. Nice to come here and learn a little bit more about St Pats! Also, your bread does look amazing, soda bread is always a favorite in our house. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

  2. awesome soda bread! hope you had a great st. patty's day :)

    1. Thank you Jenn! St. Patrick was worthily celebrated here! :)

  3. Irish Soda Bread? Sounds really good, and I will give this recipe a try soon. Thanks for sharing.