Monday, March 16, 2009

Soda Bread


The teaspoon is there merely as a size reference. I found two iron skillets--8 inch and 6 inch--at an estate sale. Makes two loaves from the typical recipe-- which was sized to the heirloom 10 inch skillet.

Have never understood where midwestern folk on St. Patrick's Day come up with the notion that Corned Beef and Cabbage is Irish fare.

And green beer? Sheesh!

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Here's the recipe. Won the prize* the Irish Fest/Red Star Yeast Baking contest in 1994.

4 C. Flour
1 T. Baking Powder
1 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Salt
All sifted together

2/3 C. Sugar creamed with 2 T. Butter; with 2 small (1 large) Egg added.

1 C. Raisins, steamed with 1/4 C. water.

1 1/2 C. Buttermilk

Sugar/butter/eggs in the bottom of a big mixing bowl, dry ingredients on top of that, buttermilk and raisins added gradually as it is mixed with a big wooden spoon. Stop with the buttermilk if it is getting too wet. Turn into lightly greased pan(s). No need to knead. Top should look craggy in the pan--before and after the baking.

Bake 50 to 70 minutes at 350 degrees in pre-heated oven 'til a toothpick comes out clean.
Turn it out of the pan immediately to cool on a rack.


* First Prize was a Belleek platter, which was a beautiful and treasured piece...until they annealed the image of fookin' Paddy McFest to it.

2 comments:

kjbpod said...

I was in a coffeeshop on St. Paddy's Day where I overheard an older gentleman explaining the corned beef origin; here is a faulty transcription of his tale:

The Irish got off the boats in NYCity and started to look around for things familiar and Old Country. However, many of the butchers of the time were Jewish, and so the usual fare of ham was not widely available. So the good Irish of the time made do with what was there, and what was there was largely beef. They "corned" it in order to make it keep longer.

Now, I have no idea about the veracity of his tale, but it does seem somewhat reasonable...

Jim Bouman said...

Hard to say, Pod.

No pork from Yiddish butchers? Entirely possible, though I tend to think they would've been looking for mutton. Hog raising in Ireland is currently a growth industry, but most of the protein that the Irish consumed came from the sea and from pastures.

Irish land lends itself to keeping grazing animals, always has. And the sheep did double duty; shorn for wool, later slaughtered for eating.

Mutton is never to be confused with lamb. All a matter of age. A tired oft-shorn ewe was tough, tasted gamey and was full of tallow, certainly long past being being able to pass for a lamb.

And what did the sage have to say about green beer?

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Of the biblical allotment of three score and ten I have lived only three of them more than a bicycle ride from one of the Great Lakes. I grew up ten blocks from Lake Erie in the (once Irish/Italian ghetto, now newly-hip) "Near West Side" of Cleveland. I can still cycle to the Milwaukee lakefront in an hour and a half; but, a round-trip has always been more than I would (noror ever did) attempt. -0- I'm a "...somewhat combative pacifist and fairly cooperative anarchist," after the example of Grace Paley (1922-2007). -0- I'm always cheerful when I pay my taxes (having refused--when necessary--to pay that portion of them dedicated to war). -0- And I always, always vote.