There is a quick bread we make at the Monastery that has withstood the test of time. Irish Soda Bread has made its appearance on the roll-out table many times during retreats, and it continues to be made regularly in the Monastery kitchen even in these days when all retreats are virtual. A fresh loaf of Irish Soda bread in your kitchen might even remind you of one of your favorite retreats! One of the joys of this bread is its simplicity. It can be mixed up in under 30 minutes, and, after about 35 minutes in the oven, a loaf of fresh bread is yours to enjoy. It’s a bread that invites you to jump in with both hands and yet does not require a long period of kneading as yeast bread does. It’s a cute round loaf that is easy to love and quick to make. Enjoy!
Irish Soda Bread
Serves about 8
3 cups spelt flour, or any other wheat flour of your choice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 egg or egg replacer
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil or another neutral flavored oil
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
½ cup cranberries or raisins
Preheat oven to 375˚. Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the egg until frothy. Add the remaining wet ingredients and the nuts. Mix the wet and the dry until just moistened. Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently for 30-45 seconds.
Mound dough into a round dome and place on a sprayed cookie sheet. With a sharp knife, cut an “X” in the top, about ½” deep.
Bake for 35-40 minutes. The crust will be firm to the touch and golden brown. The bread is finished when a knife inserted comes out clean. Do not overbake.