Almost every Friday, my partner’s architecture firm has a team breakfast, with a rotating schedule of responsibility. When it’s B’s turn to provide, I try to bake something fresh (often in the wee hours the morning of). I’ve made fresh popovers, muffins galore… and today, in honor of Saint Patty’s this weekend, Irish soda bread.
This recipe uses the traditional ingredients of black currants and flaxseed. (Unfortunately, on this occasion there were no currants available at our local co-op, and so I substituted non-traditional raisins for similar sweetness.)
Flax has been grown in Ireland for hundreds of years. I found a registry of Irish flax growers from 1796, and discovered 11 of my partner’s relatives on the list! The plant fibers are used to make linen, leaving the seeds for human consumption. Flax seeds are high in dietary fiber, micronutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids, making them a great (unobtrusive) addition to baked goods. Just make sure to drink plenty of water, or you might find yourself a little… um… backed up, for want of a more polite term.
Makes 1 round loaf, 6 servings.
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 Tbsp butter, cold
- 1 cup skim or low-fat milk
- 1 Tbsp flax seeds
- 1/2 cup dried black currants
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
Preheat oven to 375°F, and spray a cookie sheet or 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick spray (or grease with butter). Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cube your cold butter and use your fingers to work through the dry ingredients just until it forms course crumbs. Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in your milk. Stir until moistened, then add flax, currants, and oats, and mix until evenly distributed. The batter will be very sticky. Turn out onto a cookie sheet (or into cake pan) and form into a rough circle about 8 inches in diameter. Wet a knife in warm water and cut into 6 wedges (these will bake back together, but make for easier breaking along these fault lines). Bake 30 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a tester stuck into the center comes out clean. Serve warm with butter and honey!
Now that you see how easy it is, I hope you’ll be able to use this Irish soda bread recipe in your own Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations… as well as any old day you need a comforting, hearty breakfast.