Imagine my delight when Bernadette Ryan Bresnahan, owner of Creative Spirit Painting, offered to talk me through her Irish Soda Bread recipe. I am not a bread baker, the yeast based anyway. We all have our own kitchen kryptonite. Irish Soda Bread is an egg based bread so that’s a different ball game. She said it is the easiest thing to whip up and it won’t last long.
I also found a local beer expert for advice on St. Patty’s Day beer pairings. Kevin Bennet, local brewer and owner of Local Buzz Consulting, shared St. Patty’s day beer tips with me and Tracy Beaky. You can hear them on our new “2 Weird Hungry Girls Podcast.”
It turns out Bernadette, transplanted from the Hatfield, has strong Irish roots. Her grandparents, on her father’s side, are 2nd generation Irish. When talking family recipes her Nana, Margaret, often came up. In her youth, Bernadette remembered Nana cooking behind closed doors with those recipes hidden along with her. Before she passed, Nana created a cook book, specifically for Bernadette, of the family recipes. She had a soulful connection to her granddaughter saying, Bernadette’s life mirrored her own. Today Bernadette dances to be beat of her Nana’s mantra, “Work hard, play hard.”
Imagine my delight when Bernadette Bresnahan, owner of Creative Spirit Painting, offered to talk me through her Irish Soda Bread recipe. She said it is the easiest thing to whip up and it won’t last long. She was right!
Bernadette is second generation Irish, on her father’s side. When talking about family recipes her Nana Margaret often came up. Bernadette remembers Nana cooking behind closed doors with secret recipes. Before she passed, Nana created a family recipe cook book specifically for Bernadette. Margaret had a soulful connection to her granddaughter saying Bernadette’s life mirrored her own. Today Bernadette dances to be beat of her Nana’s mantra, “Work hard, play hard!”
Every St. Patty’s day Bernadette pulls out a well-kept Irish wool sweater, a gift from her Nana. The sweater was originally a gift from Margaret’s husband, on one of their twenty three trips, visiting family in Ireland. Margaret and her husband Thomas filled their home with cherished family heritage, stories (apparently the Irish are great story tellers), furniture handmade by her immigrant grandfather, and artwork from their many trips to Ireland.
Bernadette is a recipe rule breaker, adapting recipes to suit her taste. The Irish Soda Bread recipe won’t have caraway seeds or pre-soaked currents but does have sour cream, giving the bread a moist texture.
She advises if there are at least four members in your household a loaf may not make it more than a day or two. The recipe is fool-proof and is a fun project for little hands. All you’ll need are two bowls, a whisk, clean hands and a baking sheet. If there are any leftovers this bread makes the perfect Eggy Bread (what Bernadette calls French Toast and that made me smile, so I had to share that with you).
When enjoying this bread your best bet is with a healthy slather of butter. Lastly, it’s good toasted with butter and jam.
Just a few more Irish entraining tips from Bernadette. Irish love their music so Pandora a few tunes, consider a Guinness Irish Stew in addition to Shepard’s Pie, and a green and minty Grasshopper Pie (adult version or family version)
If you need a little help locating Irish potatoes my facebook fans came to the rescue and shared some local candy makers who will have these on hand.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups dried currents
- 2 eggs
- 1¼ cups buttermilk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Bernadette uses a baking stone.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and currents.
- In a second bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and combine with your hands or a large spoon. The dough will be sticky.
- Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Using flour-dusted hands, form an 8 to 10-inch circle, patting it down to an even thickness.
- Sprinkle the top with 1 tablespoon of flour. Slice an X into the top and bake until golden, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.