Tag Archives: Irish Soda Bread

Spotted Dog

Spotted Dog
Spotted Dog
Delicious Hot From The Oven
Delicious Hot From The Oven
Spotted Dog- Perfect With Butter And Jam
Spotted Dog- Perfect With Butter And Jam

Spotted Dog is a classic traditional Irish comfort food. It’s essentially a slightly sweetened Irish soda bread with raisins running through it, hence the name, Spotted Dog. My Grandad used always make white soda bread, he was great at making it, and never used any measurements. In our house, our soda breads are always brown, with the exception for this loaf which my Dad made once, donkey yonks ago.

My poor pops travelled all the way down to Ballymaloe to pick me up a copy of Darina Allen’s “Ballymaloe Cookery Course” cookbook, which is incredible by the way, it is the perfect tome which contains pretty much any and every classic recipe you could ever need. Anyway while browsing through the cake and bread sections (always my first port of call), I came across Darina’s Spotted Dog recipe and decided to give it a go for old times sake. I followed the recipe exactly with the exception of soaking my sultanas in whisky and orange juice the night before for a bit of extra juiciness.

This is so incredibly easy to make, and so satisfying. My favourite comfort foods come in bread form, hot from the oven and slathered with butter. This is delicious, really soft on the inside with a slight sweetness from the sugar and sultanas, but with a lovely crust on the outside. This is best with butter and jam, but apparently also very nice with cheese. It is also gorgeous toasted with butter when a day or two old.

Comforting and Delicious - Spotted Dog
Comforting and Delicious – Spotted Dog
Soft and Fruity Soda Bread
Soft and Fruity Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread - Spotted Dog
Irish Soda Bread – Spotted Dog

Ingredients:

450g plain white / cream flour

1 tsp bread soda

1 tsp salt

1 dessert spoon sugar

1 egg

340ml buttermilk

100g sultanas

Splash Whisky (optional)

Splash Orange Juice (optional)

  1. I soaked my sultanas in whisky and orange juice the night before which plumped them out nicely, and gave them a lovely juiciness. This is an optional step, but don’t worry the bread doesn’t taste of whisky, you can barely taste it in the sultanas, but it’s a nice subtle addition.
  2. Sieve the flour and bread soda into a large mixing bowl and add the salt, sugar and fruit. Mix together by lifting the flour and fruit up in your hands and letting them fall back into the bowl through your fingers (this apparently adds more air, making the bread lighter).
  3. Crack the egg into a measuring jug and then add the buttermilk until you reach 400ml (the egg is part of the liquid measurement), so this could be a little more or less than 350ml of buttermilk.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the bowl of flour and pour in the liquids. Mix together using your fingers drawing the flour from the outside of the bowl into the centre until it’s fully combined (the key to a great soda bread is not to over mix the dough). Pop the dough out on to a floured surface, wash your hands and with flours fingers, roll lightly for a few seconds, just to tidy the edges together.
  5. Put the round of dough onto a floured baking tray and pat lightly on top to even it out. Take a sharp knife and cut a deep cross on it, letting the cuts go over the edge. Prick each angle with a knife (according to Irish folklore this lets the fairies out… long story).
  6. Pop into a hot oven preheated to 220C for 10 minutes, then decrease the heat to 200C and bake for a further 35 minutes or until cooked. It is cooked when if tapped on the base it sounds hollow.
  7. Serve warm with lashings of butter and a blob of jam… Perfect.
Soda Dough Once Mixed Together
Soda Dough Once Mixed Together
Floured and Shaped Round of Soda Bread Dough
Floured and Shaped Round of Soda Bread Dough
Cut A Cross In Your Dough To Let Out The Fairies
Cut A Cross In Your Dough To Let Out The Fairies
Spotted Soda Bread Hot From The Oven
Spotted Soda Bread Hot From The Oven
Butter This Bad Boy Up
Butter This Bad Boy Up

Irish Brown Dillisk Scones

Delicious Brown Dillisk Soda Scones
Delicious Brown Dillisk Soda Scones
Beautiful Brown Dillisk Soda Scones
Beautiful Brown Dillisk Soda Scones
The Perfect Lunch
The Perfect Lunch

This recipe came about as a result of a craving for brown soda scones and a bag of dried dillisk (dried Irish seasweed) in my press waiting to be used up! I had totally forgot about it until I recently read that John and Sally McKenna had released a book about cooking with seaweed (or sea vegetables as the more posh folk would say), and it reminded me that I had a bag to us up, so in it went to my last batch of brown soda scones. Seaweed of all different varieties adorn the Irish shores, and yet Irish people don’t eat it nearly as much as you would think despite it being such a nutritous food. However, seaweeds are becoming very fashionable again and I’m starting to sea a whole number of varieties on menus again. Seaweed has been used as a beauty treatment in Ireland for centuries, and many Irish cosmetic companies use it as their superstar ingredient, Voya being by far the best Irish luxury cosmetic company, harnessing seaweeds hydrating properties. So here’s to using what we have in plenty and finding fun and unusual ways of cooking and eating it.

I also have to mention Macroom Oats and Flours as I used them in this recipe, and I use their grains all the time. The Macroom mill is based in Cork and is run by a man called Donal Creedon. I haven’t met him, but he’s known in Cork as being a true artisan who has managed to make oats and flour a luxury artisan product. His oats are stoneground and lightly toasted and make the most delicious, luxurious porridge in the world. His wholemeal flour is ground in the same way and gives the most lovely slightly nutty texture to breads. I recommend seeking the products out, they’re available in most good independent delis and health shops around the country, but often times if they’re not you can just enquire at your local speciality store and they’re usually quite open to ordering unavailable products in.

These scones are savoury using the dillisk which has a lovely very slightly salty taste and beautiful texture, and a little parmasan cheese to give the scones a subtle kick. When they are fresh out of the oven the taste of the dilisk is stronger (the heat and moisture rehydrates the dried dillisk), however when cooled the taste is extremely subtle. However, these would be perfectly delicious without the dillisk or cheese, and the recipe can be used in exactly the same way and would be gorgeous topped with a little jam and cream.

Delicious Irish Ingredients
Delicious Irish Ingredients
Dried Dillisk
Dried Dillisk

Ingredients (makes 6-8):

225g self raising flour

180g coarse wholemeal flour

20g oats (if you don’t have any oats you can just use 20g wholemeal flour)

1 tsp bread soda

1 pinch salt

75g butter room temperature

2 tbsp grated Parmasen cheese (or any other cheese)

2 handfuls of dillisk (or other dried seaweed) chopped

300ml buttermilk

2 eggs

2 tbsp mixed seeds to scatter on top (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C and mix the flours, bread soda, salt, cheese and dillisk into a bowl.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until combined in.
  3. Mix together one of the eggs and the buttermilk and milk into the flour with your hand until the mixture is combined.
  4. Turn out onto a floured surface. This is a loose, wet mix, so spoon some mixture out trying to keep height of about 2-3cm height. (If you prefer a more structured scone that is less loose, then use 100ml less buttermilk, then you should be able to turn out your dough and use a scone cutter). There is a beautiful moist softness to the recipe above though, so I recommend doing it my way.
  5. Pop the scones into a tin on top of a greased piece of baking paper, you can use a little of the second beaten egg to wash the top of the scones and sprinkle the seeds on top.
  6. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, they are done when they are golden on top.
  7. Let cool completely on a wire wrack before serving.
Macroom Stoneground Wholemeal Flour
Macroom Stoneground Wholemeal Flour
Portion Out Dough
Portion Out Dough
Ready For The Oven
Ready For The Oven
Brown Scones Hot From The Oven
Brown Scones Hot From The Oven
Delicious Buttered Brown Soda Scones
Delicious Buttered Brown Soda Scones

Brown Soda Bread

Brown Soda Bread
Brown Soda Bread
Irish Brown Soda Bread
Irish Brown Soda Bread

Last night was my last night of the Arbutus Bread Course 😦 And I have to say despite having to travel down to Cork from Dublin late Tuesday night every week and getting the 5am bus back to Dublin every Thursday morning, I am quite sorry to see it end. In fact the 5am bus ride was almost enjoyable when it was accompanied with a little flask of hot tea and a some of the fresh bread (generously buttered and slathered with jam) that I had made the night before at Arbutus!

This week was great as two of the breads we did, Latvian Rye and Brown Soda, would be the breads I would eat the most on a day to day basis. The Latvian Rye would be the bread I would buy from Arbutus the most, and luckily we had the pleasure of learning to make it from Ivers, the baker responsible for this loaf being on the Arbutus shelves. He also refers to it as sweet and sour rye bread, it has a really distinct flavour from the sugar, salt, and carraway seeds that they add to the mix. It is delicious.

The second bread we did was the classic Irish Brown Soda Bread. This is probably the quickest and easiest bread anyone can make, and every Irish family seems to have their own variation. However, the Arbutus brown was so good I will have to ditch my usual recipe and make this one going forward. It’s so soft and flavoursome, with the most amazing thick crust on the outside. What is even better is that there is no kneading, proving and knocking back involved so if you’re new to bread making, this is the recipe for you. Apparently the taste varies depending on whether you make it in the crossed cake shape (like pictured) or in a tin, with the round cake shape being preferable. This is the bread that cheered me up at 5am yesterday morning with a nice spoon of Flynn’s Kitchen raspberry jam on the long road back to Dublin.

Ingredients (For 2 loaves):

1 kg of course brown flour (Howards One Way or Odlums work well)

360g White Flour

25g Bread Soda

25g Cream of Tartar

20g Salt

75g Macroom Oatmeal (Or other stoneground or steel cut oatmeal)

1.5 litre Buttermilk (a little soured if possible)

50ml Sour Cream

50ml Oil

1 Egg

Few handfuls of Extra Course Brown Flour for coating the loaf (Howards Extra Strong)

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together apart from the oats. Mix these together well by fluffing the ingredients up from underneath (this also adds some air into the mix and takes away the density of the loaf.)

2. Mix all the wet ingredients and add the oats to soften out for about 20 to 30 minutes. Mix the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together well, again by fluffing the ingredients up with your hands.

3. Sprinkle your work surface with the extra coarse flour and place the dough on top, shape into a round with your hand and carefully flip it upside down to coat the other side (it’s a very soft wet dough, so be careful not to put your hand through it.

4. When your dough it nicely coated with the coarse flour let it sit for 10 minutes, then cut a cross on top and pop into an oven heated to 240C for about 40 minutes. When it’s done it should have a hollow sounds when tapped on the bottom, also when you press down on the top the bread should hold its shape and not sink down.

5. Enjoy this with pretty much anything! I love a piece hot from the oven with butter and jam, but it’s also perfect with soups and for sandwiches.

Mix Together Wet And Dry Ingredients
Mix Together Wet And Dry Ingredients
Shape Into A Round
Shape Into A Round
Ready For The Oven
Ready For The Oven
Out They Come
Out They Come
Delicious Brown Soda Bread
Delicious Brown Soda Bread