inspired by the day... irish soda bread. sort of.

I woke up this morning determined to make an Irish Soda Bread. I saw a post on modern farmette on Dulse butter and it has been rolling around the back of my mind ever since.! Anything relating to Inish food peaks my curiosity. Since I don't have Dulse, I am going to substitute juniper. Next time I get some seaweed I will try her butter, for now it has inspired me nonetheless.

I have eaten Irish Soda Bread less than ten times in my life, two or three were in Ireland and the rest, every so often at home. It is something my stepmother liked to pull out around this time of the year along with corned beef and cabbage or New England boiled dinner. St. Patricks Day and Easter inspired these things along with the annual hot cross buns and the coconut lamb cake... a cake in the shape of a lamb covered in swirls of coconut frosting.

These foods have not really made it into my repetoire of cooking in my adult  life. I tend cook with a laissez- faire mediterranean bent, focusing on local and seasonal foods. I pull a lot of my inspiration from my maternal grandparents who were  from Rome and Puglia. Every so often however, I nod to my step mother's roots, Irish, French and New England Farmhouse Yankee beacuse you can never quite deny where you come from. I thank her often for all my canning abilities, cheese making and butter making skills. I learned early how to be a true pioneer, growing up on a small family farm I can milk a cow and a goat, butcher a hen, tap my trees and make  farmhouse cheese. Not bad for a renegade distracted tomboy with one foot out the door and her Piscean head in the clouds all the time. At least I learned something!

So.. on this bright sunny day I have decided to make an Irish Soda Bread. The house is quiet as there is no one home but me. Will anyone be here to eat it before it turns rock hard as they are apt to do? Let's hope! I may find myself carrying it over the bridge to share with Meredith and Clementine. I love the way a soda bread looks. I am a sucker for old school rustic beauty. I can just imagine it sitting on a farmhouse table in the late 1800's with a bit of Modern Farmette's Dulse butter.

I just saw that Food52 did a whole post on Corned Beef and Cabbage and Irish Brown Soda Bread. See it here.


Juniper Butter

One half pint of organic heavy cream

6 dried juniper berries

Pinch of sea salt


Pour the heavy cream into your blender or small Cuisinart

Crush the juniper berries with the back of a spoon and add to the heavy cream

Add a pinch of sea salt


Blend at a high speed until the butter forms and separates from the buttermilk

Removethe butter and strain in a cheese cloth

Discard the butter milk liquid

Refridgerate until firm



Brown Irish Soda Bread With Dates and Raisins

(Quick Irish Soda Bread)

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking 1964 edition. My grandmother's  copy worn and tattered...

I bastardized this recipe. just saying.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Sift together in a large bowl

2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the dry ingredients


6 tablespoons chilled butter cut in small piecesadd the choppped butter and mix with your fingers until it resembles a coarse  corn meal


1 tablespoon black strap molasses

 Add the molasses

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup dried dates 

a few shelled green pistachios

1/2 to 2/3 cup buttermilk


Add the dried fruit and the buttermilk

Mix until just bended


The dough should not be dry.

Put the dough in a greased cast iroon frying pan or on a sheet pan

Form into a round loaf or mound

Cut a bold cross on the top, letting it go ovethe sides so the bread will not crack.

Bake 40-50 minutes


This particular recipie was like a rich brown scone. not exactly soda bread but delicious just the same!

THe original recipie calls for white flour

white sugar and raisins


( I added the dates , pistachios, molasses and wheat flour)