Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 is a tradition around the world.
It’s a day when the Irish and the “Irish-at-heart” celebrate Irish culture with parades, dancing and special foods, as well as green everywhere — including turning rivers green and drinking green beer.
So, why all of the green?
In the beginning, green wasn’t the color associated with St. Patrick, it was blue. Over time, it changed because green represent the emerald isle, which refer to the beautiful green landscapes of Ireland.
At first, people put green shamrocks in their lapels, and later green showed up in clothing, to represent the day.
A typical St. Patrick’s Day meal consists of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and, of course, crusty Irish soda bread.
This recipe will help you bake the bread to enjoy at your St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Crusty Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
- 1 cup to 2 cups raisins (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup margarine/butter
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
Plus: 2 Tablespoons melted butter/margarine mixed with 2 Tablespoons buttermilk to brush on top of loaf.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ½ cup softened margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 2 tablespoons of buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.
Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Check for doneness after 30 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter-buttermilk mixture while it bakes.
Interesting note: John Gallagher, former administrator of Pasco County, is widely known for his family recipe for Irish Soda Bread. He would make the bread to bring it to the office during this time of year for his staff to enjoy.
Published March 15, 2017