Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. Or… Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona as they say in Munster

My plan for the day was to make my Beef Braised in Guinness for dinner. Victor’s still not much of a cooked cabbage person, so there’s no real reason to cook it just for myself. Besides… I like the Beef in Guinness!

I then thought of making a soda bread. I have a recipe I’ve used for years, but thought something new might be fun. I went to an Irish newspaper – The Irish Examiner – to see if there was anything promising. I’m glad I took the time to search!

I found a recipe – Honey and Oat Loaf with Cayenne – that sounded so different I knew I had found today’s bread!

Honey and Oat Loaf with Cayenne

adapted from the Irish Examiner

Ingredients:

  • 250g of brown flour
  • 250g of plain flour
  • 1 tsp of bread soda
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp of cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 4 tsp of honey
  • 420mls of buttermilk
  • 20g of porridge oats

Method

Heat your oven to 200 degrees. Mix the flours with the bread soda, both peppers and salt in a large bowl. Mix until they are completely combined.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the honey and buttermilk. Bring everything together with your hands. Add in the oats and kneed them into the dough. Form a neat ball.

Turn the dough onto a floured baking tray and pat into the shape of a round loaf. Cut a cross in the top of the loaf and if you want to let the fairies out, prick each quarter with the knife.

Bake for about 40 minutes until it is golden on top and hollow sounding when you tap the base.

 

Honey and Oat Loaf with Cayenne

I have made many loaves of soda bread in my time, with varying degrees of success. Some have been too dry and crumbly, others a bit dense. Others, still have been more cake-like than bread.

This one is bread. Real, honest bread. Bread with a bit of a kick you don’t notice right away – it sneaks up on you and then lingers gently on the tongue. A soda bread with all of the qualities and characteristics of a yeast bread.

I can see more of this happening – and not just on March 17th!

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