As someone who is part-Irish and spent many years in Boston, St. Patrick’s Day shouldbe a big deal to my family, but, honestly, it just isn’t. Growing up, we never went to the parade and there was definitely no green-tinted foods or beverages, but what we did do was use it as an excuse to have bangers and mash or corned beef, and often soda bread. It was a time to hear my parents’ stories about going to university in Dublin and to enjoy the foods they loved from their time there. So this year, as we were snowed in (again!), I decided to try to recreate the hearty, nourishing Irish soda bread that I loved so much. And this time I had a little helper!
This is, actually, a great recipe to do with kids because it is very simple and the best way to mix the dough is with your hands. My five-year-old had a great time mixing in the butter, kneading the dough, and forming the rolls. He mentioned a number of times how much he loves the feeling of flour on his hands. Too cute.
This recipe is adapted from a Bon Appétit recipe from ’99 that it includes whole wheat flour (which makes it much more rustic and, therefore, authentic tasting) and walnuts for an added crunch and health benefit. What I did differently was cut out the ¼ cup of brown sugar. In my memory, soda bread shouldn’t be sweet so just the molasses, which adds a wonderful depth of flavor, moisture, and slight sweetness, worked for me!
We’ll be having them for dinner tonight, slathered with Kerrygold butter, with a sweet potato soup (recipe coming soon!).
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons molasses (not black strap)
- Preheat the oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt.
- Toss in the butter and blend in with fingertips until it resembles a fine meal.
- Mix in the walnuts.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and molasses.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Flatten into a large disk and cut into six pieces. Form each piece into a ball and then flatten slight to form a 3-inch round. Use a sharp knife to cut an X into the top of each roll.
- Place on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
2 tablespoons of milk combined with yogurt to equal 1 cup
1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar mixed with milk to equal 1 cup, which you leave sitting for 5-10 minutes to allow it to thicken.
Other fun mix-ins here, instead of or in place of some of the walnuts, would be cranberries, currants, or raisins.