Irish Soda Bread is part of most any traditional Irish feast served on St. Patrick’s Day (coming up on March 17!). Typically Irish Soda Bread is defined by its heavy texture (denser like a scone than light and airy like a loaf of bread), and this is because most recipes don’t incorporate yeast.
Most Irish descendants will agree that Irish Soda Bread originally only contained four basic ingredients — flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk. This simple combination makes sense due to the fact that the first known Irish Soda Bread recipe dates back to 1836, when it was published in London’s Farmer’s Magazine and touted for “invigorating the body, promoting digestion, strengthening the stomach, and improving the state of the bowels.” That’s quite a lot to expect from bread! Nonetheless, Irish Soda Bread came on the heels of the introduction of bicarbonate soda (aka baking soda) for use in cooking, and it has evolved throughout nearly two centuries.
Today’s Irish Soda Bread recipes have come a long way. With the addition of eggs, butter, lemon juice, raisins and more, this classic bread takes on many forms and flavors. Which is the great thing about it — because it is so basic, it serve as a nearly “blank canvas” that can be “colored” with various ingredients to give it creative and tasty twists.
When serving Irish Soda Bread alongside a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal such as corned beef and cabbage, it’s ideal to keep it simple and savory (since it serves so well to sop up the delicious juices during a hearty beef and cabbage meal). However, home cooks and professionals alike can get crafty when it comes to adding all sorts of ingredients to sweeten up the bread to serve along with coffee at breakfast or after dinner, for example.
Dried fruit goes hand in hand with Irish Soda Bread. And in fact many classic recipes include the addition of raisins in their adaptations. However, there are so many more dried fruit varieties beyond raisins! For a taste of the coming season, add Traina® Home Grown’s fruitons® Summer Dried Fruit Blend, featuring California sun dried peaches, nectarines and plums; and Traina® Home Grown’s fruitons® sun dried California Dried Cherries can add a sweet yet tart result. For a savory outcome, Irish Soda Bread can take on an Italian flair with the addition of chopped Traina Home Grown California Sun Dried tomatoes, some sliced Kalamata olives and oregano or rosemary.
This Saint Patrick’s Day, the Traina family encourages home cooks and professionals to have some fun with their classic Irish Soda Bread recipes by using dried fruit for an added boost of flavor! With a little luck of the Irish and some Traina Home Grown dried fruit, they will surely turn out splendid!