Isabelle O'Carroll
Writer and content creator, London

Recipe: Granny’s Soda Bread

After a phone call from my gran my dad had a word in my ear about my blog. I often mention my French roots but my Irish side, which is a whole half, gets a bit looked over. So to celebrate St Patrick’s Day I thought I’d post my granny’s (prize-winning!) recipe for soda bread. Don’t worry, I will also be wearing a green promotional hat and getting drunk on Apple Sourz and Guinness, because that’s what being Irish is all about, right?

I don’t look very Irish, but I do have my grandma’s height, (we’re both 5″8) and hopefully I’ve inherited some of her gentle temperament. Hanorah used to bake her award-winning brown bread daily and it’s well-loved by all her children and grandchildren. We’d have it throughout the day, in the morning with Olhausen sausages and black pudding, with her homemade worcester berry jam in the afternoon and it’s just as delicious with plain butter for supper, along with one of the endless cups of tea you end up drinking over there. I think worcester berries are blackcurrants or Ribena berries? We always call them worcester berries, the bushes grow in her garden and it makes a really good jam.

It’s more commonly known as soda bread over here but in Ireland everyone calls it brown bread. I love it because it’s really filling and goes with savoury as well as sweet. It also doesn’t leave me with that bloated, doughy feeling you sometimes get with normal bread.

I asked my cousin for the recipe and she sent me a very simple set of instructions, a bit wary I did a lot of googling but in the end just decided to go for it. Getting buttermilk in the UK is a little tough, there is a great Irish shop on Lordship lane near my house but they’d run out so I just soured under a pint of milk with the juice of a lemon and let it sit. Much preferable to beating cream until it separates into butter… Here is the recipe, it’s really very simple, my loaf turned out not too bad which is good considering my baking skills are nonexistent!

2 cups of wholemeal flour
1 cup of self raising flour
pinch of salt, teaspoon of baking soda
about 3-400ml butter milk

Sift your flour and chuck all the germ in, make a well and mix in the buttermilk until it’s just wet enough. Don’t add too much or you will get a doughy loaf. Knead it slightly, but you don’t want to over knead. Make into a flattish cake shape and slash a cross on the top.

Bake at 180 for 30 mins, then turn down to 150 and bake until it makes a hollow sound when you tap the bottom.

Isabelle O'Carroll: I’m a writer, content designer and consultant with 11+ years’ experience across fashion, food and drink and the arts.

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