Belinda’s Irish Soda Bread Loaf

Inspired by Bob Geldof’s hugely successful “Live Aid” to raise money for Africa in 1985, the English cook, Delia Smith, came up with an idea for continuing the fund-raising effort. Delia, with the help of BBC Radio Presenter, Terry Wogan, and Frances Whitaker mobilised celebrities, chefs and home bakers into creating a cookbook sharing their favourite recipes. The book: The Food Aid Cookery Book, edited by Delia Smith and with a foreword by Terry Wogan, went on sale in December 1986 with all proceeds from the sale going to the Africa fund. The following recipe for Irish Soda Bread – Quick Crunchy Brown Bread was submitted by Sister Kathleen O’Sullivan, from Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, UK. Sister Kathleen’s recipe is very similar to the recipe I came to know as a child. You can bake this in a loaf tin, or make it as a round with quarter cuts as is traditional.

6oz (175g) wholemeal flour

2oz (50g) plain flour

1oz (25g) pinhead oatmeal

1oz (25g) wheatgerm

1oz (25g) bran

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 egg

1/2 pint buttermilk

Pre-heat oven to gas mark 5, 375 F, 190 C. Grease a 1LB loaf pan thoroughly.

Place the dry ingredients in a large, roomy bowl, then beat the egg and buttermilk together and add to the dry ingredients. Mix first with a fork then finish off with your hands, to form a smooth dough. Transfer the dough to the tin, level the top and bake in the centre of the oven for 50-60 minutes. Turn it straight out onto a wire rack to cool.

(I always tap the underside of a loaf and if it sounds hollow I know it is done. I also turn the loaf upside down in the oven for the last few minutes.)

This photo of the traditional round comes from the following superb blog. Check this out. You can follow the link to the society for the preservation of Irish Soda Bread too if you’d like to learn more.

Irish Soda Bread Round

I’m off to do some shopping now for Thanksgiving dinner. I will post a note about ingredients and equipment for your bread baking project later today.