Irish Soda Bread with Currants and Flax

Irish soda bread

Irish soda bread

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.

(more…)