Recipe of the Week: Sage + Rosemary Irish Soda Bread

By Brogan Wu
On March 21, 2018

Photo by Brogan Wu

Growing up in a mixed household I have always had two moods when it came to food. Mainly because of my two different sides. One, a love for spicy Chinese fare with fermented vegetables and bold spices.

The other, a craving for the foods my Irish mother grew up eating; steak, potatoes, stews, and loaves of bread. I would never dare say it was food that was bland, but it was food that was simple. Home cooked staples and one pot wonders that fed big families, especially when on a budget.

There are two dishes I really only make 1-2 times a year, and always on St. Patrick’s Day. A hearty beef and Guinness pie, and my favorite Irish soda bread. While I love these dishes for their traditional roots, you know I can't do anything too traditional.

That’s why my soda bread is a little sweeter than the norm, and is packed with freshly chopped herbs. However, like all good soda bread, it is used with very simple ingredients and requires no proofing whatsoever (amazing, right?).

While rosemary and sage are two of my everyday staples, the caraway seed is an ingredient I far too often forget to utilize. Caraway seeds have been used for centuries, both in cooking, craft, and barter. Farmers would use caraway as items of currency or as gifts, since it was such a popular addition to wheat-based recipes.

On a more magical note, caraway has been utilized for its power in protection. Whether it be to ward off thieves, unwanted animals, or infidelity, caraway seeds are said to keep us and our loved ones in safe and peaceful spaces.

However, of all of the uses for caraway seeds, this Irish soda bread is definitely one of the best. Served warm with a slather of Kerrygold butter, or with breakfast with a side of sausage and a fried egg. This is a rustic loaf packed with big flavor and mellow sweetness. Make this next time you are celebrating St. Patrick, or just when you are a craving a quick, easy, bread.

Sweet Sage + Rosemary Irish Soda Bread

You Will Need:

  • 4 cups of all purpose flour (APF) (plus more for kneading)

  • 3 tbsp white sugar

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 5 tbsp cold, cubed salter butter

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 - 1 cup of dried black currants

  • 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds

  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage

  • 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

  • 1-2 tsp of olive oil or butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F

  2. In a large bowl combine APF, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

  3. Using a fork, or your hands, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture should be coarse, like you were making homemade biscuits or a pie crust.

  4. Add currants, fresh herbs, and caraway seeds, and mix until evenly distributed.

  5. In a measuring cup, whisk together one large egg and add the buttermilk.

  6. Slowly pour the buttermilk and egg mixture over our dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon to bind it all together.

  7. Once a dough begins to form, knead the dough, using more flour as needed, until a solid ball comes together. Be careful not to over knead, just until the dough comes together.

  8. In a large cast iron skillet, or dutch oven, lightly grease the bottom with a teaspoon or so of olive oil.

  9. Place the dough on top, and mark the classic 'X' using a very sharp knife.

  10. Bake until crusty and golden brown, about 45 minutes or so.

 

bwu1@ramapo.edu

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