Il Fiorello took a walk through history on Sunday (which also just happened to be St. Patrick’s Day) when Ann gave cooking demonstrations on Irish soda bread. Guests had a treat as they tasted the different breads Ann made.
She made raisin with Irish whiskey, walnut, dried cherry and oat bran. Later in the day, cranberry soda bread came out of the ovens of Il Fiorello’s Kitchen in the Grove.
It was a fun way to celebrate an Irish tradition that actually didn’t begin with the Irish, according to historical documents.
“Just like the bagpipes weren’t invented by the Scots, the chemical reaction that makes Soda Bread what it is wasn’t invented by the Irish. The earliest reference to using soda ash in baking bread seems to be credited to American Indians using it to leaven their bread. Pearl Ash was used prior to 1800 to make cakes by combining it with an acidic ingredient in the dough. However, as the Scots have made the bagpipe their instrument, the Irish have made Soda Bread theirs. Not by choice, but by a state of poverty that made it the easiest bread to put on the table,” according to the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread.
No matter the history, we enjoy the wonderful texture and flavor of Irish Soda Bread. In case you want to give it a try, we are giving you our recipe. Enjoy!
IRISH SODA BREAD WITH AN ITALIAN TWIST
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (half all purpose and half whole wheat is also good)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Pre-heat over to 375F
Grease a 12” by 18”baking sheet
Put flour, baking soda, salt in a medium bowl and mix with a whisk or fork to blend
Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together.
Turn out the dough on to a floured work surface e and kneed gently until the dough comes together.
Pat the dough into a round about 6 inches across and slash the top in an X or Cross
Place the dough onto the greased pan
Bake for about 50 minutes.
Wrap into a moist towel until ready to serve.
Serve with fresh Irish butter
OPTIONS: Add Currants, dried cherries, or raisins
IL Fiorello Olive Oil Co. 2013