Mom’s Secret Stash: Irish Soda Bread
Here’s another one from the Mom’s Secret Stash files: Irish Soda Bread.
I couldn’t find the old recipe card this time, but as with the not-so-Hungarian Goulash, I did locate the source: Page 132 of Ann Rogers’ A Cookbook for Poor Poets (and others).
This book is a Mom Favorite and I’m convinced it’s not just because of the simple, rustic recipes inside, but because of the title. Trust me, in our house growing up, it was all about being Poor Poets. (Or poor writers, or poor anthropologists for that matter. You get the picture. Everyone did the follow-your-bliss thing. Too bad bliss didn’t come with nice salaries.)
I don’t remember much else from the book aside from Poor Poet’s Chicken (p. 113), and a dish I never cared for called Hog and Hominy (p.76). I am grateful Mom never attempted the dish in the introduction on page 10: Cats’lleatit. “Cat’slleatit,” the author says, “is manufactured from equal parts of heart, liver, tongue, kidney, sweetbreads, and/or brains (eater’s choice) along with a handful each of dried salt pork and sliced onions. And a clove or two of garlic for those who like it.”
Sorry, but a vat of dark chocolate, for those who like it, won’t get me near that one.
But, back to the bread.
(Important note: this is an old book, and therefore has a peculiar type face that tends to make threes look like fives at smaller resolutions. It may not look it, but that does indeed say “bake for about 45 minutes at 350°”)
If I’d been thinking clearly when I wrote up my childhood memories post, Irish Soda Bread would have been near the top of the list. Those crisp fall days when I came home from school to the smell of freshly-baked bread in the kitchen were the best ever. Tea time was a mandatory occurrence at our house and I’d even give up a stack of soda crackers and a rerun of Gilligan’s Island if I could sit at the table with my parents and eat Irish Soda Bread so fresh that the butter melted on contact. (Yes, this bread is meant to be devoured warm and if you’re hungry enough, it’ll be gone before it hits room temperature!)
Delicious fine grain whole wheat bread flour from the Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill in Bellingham, Washington. Discovered during the Eat Local Challenge!
Now, I don’t make this often, and since we’ve a rather small and (say it with me now) Messy Kitchen, there’s not much room for actual baking. So, I have to improvise. On days when I’m thinking straight, I’ll move the bread board over to the dining room table and work there. It’s a little low for counter-work, but it gives me the space I need to get messy. And I do get messy.
See, I like to make this stuff the old-fashioned way. Or maybe it’s just the bizarre Mrs. D way, who knows, but when the recipe calls for just combining all ingredients and working on a board, I do just that, starting with all the dry ingredients in a big mound. I then turn my lovely flour mountain into something more resembling Crater Lake, and pour the mixed-up wet stuff into the middle. At this point, with extra flour close at hand, I work it all together until the sticky mess becomes a nice round lump of dough.
That is, if I remember to move the bread board to the table and set out the extra flour.
Last time, I didn’t.
The tragic results were as follows:
First, I misjudged the amount of wet stuff to pour into the middle, and Crater Lake sprouted Crater Creek, which soon turned into Crater Falls right off the edge of the counter and onto Crater Swamp.
Second, since the “additional 3/4 cup of flour” was still in the flour bag, my dam-building attempts were less than successful, and I ended up jostling the bread board around on the counter, thus resulting in this woeful casualty of war:
Oh, beloved pepper grinder, we hardly knew ye.
Third. Well there wasn’t exactly a third, except I had to holler at Mom (across the room) to come over and dump some flour onto the board because otherwise this was going to be one big colossal waste of ingredients.
Amazingly, after all the chaos, I ended up with this:
And it tasted good. And we ate almost all of it before it reached room temperature.