Moscail do mhisneach a Banbha!
Today, the American St. Patrick’s Day, is appropriately grey and chilly here in San Francisco. It makes me think of Dublin, where I spent an all-too-brief, all-too-frigid July weekend five years ago. I had a small cold, so could not fully indulge in the Jameson Distillery Tour, but it is on my list for the next time I visit — as well as the Irish Writers’ Museum (oh, Yeats!) we unfortunately did not have time to peruse.
Today is a day to drink tea, and listen to Celtic music, and read James Joyce or Seamus Heaney. In years past I’ve made vegetarian versions of Irish traditional dishes, or green-centric foods, but, really, what could be more traditional than soda bread? Though I have no evidence that this ever occurred, I like to imagine my great-grandmother baking it in her tiny New Jersey kitchen and dreaming of green hills.
Proper Soda Bread (Soda Farls)
4 cups all purpose flour.
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
14 oz of buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees. Lightly grease and flour a cake pan. In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Place on floured surface and lightly knead.
Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.
Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done. Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.
Serve with tea, of course.