Add traditional dish to St. Pat’s feast
by Sally Litchfield
March 15, 2012 12:00 AM | 2615 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jamie Gorey makes traditional Irish soda bread, complete with a traditional Irish bread board. <br>Staff/Lindsay Fendt
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If you are planning a St. Patrick’s Day feast, add Jamie Gorey’s Irish soda bread to the menu. She shares two versions, brown spiced Irish bread and Catherine’s Irish soda bread.

Gorey started making Irish soda bread after marrying her husband, Andrew, whose parents were born and raised in Ireland. When the family moved to the U.S., the staple recipes came too. Gorey shares recipes that originate from her mother-in-law and sister-in-law who live in New York and New Jersey, respectively.

“Both my in-laws grew up in big Irish families. They grew up on rural farms and worked hard,” Gorey said.

She said the Irish typically made things quickly and worked with small ovens. “(The breads) are fast, easy and inexpensive,” she said.

Both breads have been adapted to family tastes and use one egg. “Some (Irish) breads require more things. These don’t,” Gorey said.

“(Irish soda bread) was the only bread they really had at their house. This was their mainstay bread. This was the bread they ate at breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was also for teatime,” she said. ““I call these all-day eating breads. They’re so good.”

Catherine’s Irish soda bread, the recipe of her sister-in-law, is different from the traditional Irish soda bread. “Catherine’s is a little denser and it’s a little softer. It’s sweeter,” Gorey said.

“(Catherine’s version) is one of my favorites. I probably make 15 loaves around St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a simple bread that everyone can eat,” she said.

Gorey, a food blogger and co-author of “Two Chicks from the Sticks Back Home Baking,” recommends serving the bread with good Irish butter. “Anybody overseas will tell you that there’s nothing better than Kerrygold Irish butter. It’s delicious,” she said. “Making Irish soda bread is a fun thing to do.”

Brown Irish Spiced Bread

2 cups raisins

1 cup sugar

1¼ cups water

½ cup butter or margarine

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

In a large saucepan, combine raisins, sugar, water, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to boiling. Boil 1 minute; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool for one hour. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking soda three times. Add 1 egg to the saucepan with cooled raisin mixture; beat well. Add flour mixture to the raisin mixture in five additions, mixing well after each addition. Spread batter in prepared pan.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Transfer loaf to cooling rack and cool completely.

Yield: 1 round loaf or 12-14 servings

Note: All the mixing for this bread is completed in a large saucepan. My mother would say, “This is a “good thing.”

Catherine’s Irish Soda Bread

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

½ cup butter or margarine, room temperature

1 egg

1¼ cups buttermilk

1 cup dark raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add sugar, mix well. Cut in butter; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine egg and buttermilk; mix well. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture, mixing just until moistened. Fold in raisins. Pour dough into prepared pan. Tap pan to spread batter evenly.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 45 minutes longer, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Transfer pan to a cooling rack; cool 10 minutes. Run a straight-edged knife around the outside edges of the loaf; gently turn bread out of the pan and onto the cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 1 round loaf or 12 to 14 servings.
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