Reminds one of Hot Cross Buns, right? But the crosses on those are made of sugar and put on the buns after they’re baked, whereas in Irish soda bread, the crosses are cut into the buns themselves
I’ve been aching to bake a proper ‘bread’ for close to seven months now. I remember that it is precisely seven months, since I ‘baked’ my first cake some eight months ago and once I got confident about being able to bake a simple decent cake (if only for myself) I got haughty and aimed high, real high. I went from making a plain chocolate cake that rose only marginally to a googled focassia recipe!
And as disasters are meant to be, so was this one. The yeast did not froth (btw, I haven’t managed that till date!), but I did not let that deter me. “I’m a baker, a foody and yeast that doesn’t proof doesn’t scare me,” I told myself and proceeded right ahead with the recipe. Talk about being foolish! The focassia was, well, let’s just forget we were talking about focassia, shall we?
And so, I was scouring the blog world, looking for a bread recipe that did not call for any yeast, that was eggless and one that wasn’t sweet (quite a list isn’t it?!). And the easiest one I came across was the Irish Soda Bread. Read here for info on ‘authentic’ Irish soda bread.
I read and read and read all sorts of versions and variations and finally settled for a basic one. I followed this recipe for the flour combination but turned it into a savoury bread by adding a teaspoon of mixed herbs and cut out the raisins and caraway seeds. This really is easy to make. By the time I got the bread into the oven, it was past 10 pm (would you believe it if I said I was planning this for dinner and thanks to the awesome speed at which I worked, my mum had a to step in with a replacement!) after which I conveniently forgot all about it.
An hour later, when I went onto the kitchen for a sip of water, the smell of fresh baked bread greeted me. I couldn’t resist a bite right then, with a blob of garlic mayonnaise. It isn’t the lightest of breads you’ll get to eat, it is a dense, hearty bread that is better eaten with soup or even Rasam.