By Sarah Chaminade—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts
Like many non-Irish descendants, when I think of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s all about four leaf clovers, corned beef, cabbage, whiskey and Irish soda bread. But what exactly is soda bread? Some say it resembles more of a scone than bread since it doesn’t contain any yeast. You can find hundreds of different recipes—some include caraway, and others even add eggs. If you ask true Irish lads or lasses, they’ll tell you soda bread must have only four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk. To them, anything more is a tea cake.
Now, while I’m all for authenticity, as a pastry chef it’s my job to constantly question tradition and seek ways to transform the simple into something extraordinary. Over years of experimenting, I’ve found what I believe is the perfect balance of flavor and texture—with a little added surprise at the end. I’m willing to bet that once you’ve tasted this Irish soda bread, you’ll never buy a loaf from the bakery again!
Read on for Chef Sarah's expert take on Irish soda bread.