Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Typically, this all-about-the-Irish holiday is spent dressing in green and clovers from head to toe, crawling from pub to pub with friends and taking in a St. Paddy’s Day parade in your city. In 2021, much like last year, March 17th is bound to have a more subdued, stay-and-celebrate-at-home vibe to it.
But, if you’re spending St. Patrick’s Day at home, you can still have yourself a darn good time. Nobody said you can’t dress in all-green while you work from home, and a Guinnness tastes delicious no matter where you sip your bottle. The best part about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at home, however, is embracing an at-home meal with a bunch of Irish favorites (no matter how authentically “Irish” they may or may not be).
If you’re kicking off your day with some corned beef and cabbage (or corned beef in another form), then you may be wondering how to keep the St. Paddy’s party going in the evening. Might we suggest a hearty Guinness beef stew? And, if the last year has taught us anything, we’ve learned that the key to any great homemade meal is bread. And for this day, that means Irish soda bread.
What is Irish soda bread? It’s a yeast-free bread that’s core is just four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk. That’s where it gets its name from -- baking soda, not the bubbly stuff you down with a burger and fries. The baking soda is the key to this recipe. The leavening comes from the reaction that the lactic acid in buttermilk has with the baking soda, creating tiny bubbles and making the bread quick to rise, so the whole thing can be ready in just about an hour (including bake time!).
This bread is ripe for experimentation when it comes to mix-ins. The below recipe keeps things simple with sweet raisins, but you can also swap it out for dried currants, orange zest, some caraway seeds or nuts. It’s up to you. And if swapping out raisins for nuts isn’t creative enough for you, consider whipping up more Instagram-worthy recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.
Step 1: Combine 4 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 cups raisins in a large bowl.
Step 2: Soften 6 tablespoons butter in the microwave.
Step 3: Beat 2 eggs well in a small bowl, and mix in the butter.
Step 4: Combine wet and dry ingredients.
Step 5: Roll the dough into two logs, roll each log into round shape.
Step 6: Score each loaf dough with an X.
Step 7: Place the dough on floured pans.
Step 8: Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or longer (should be golden brown on top).
Step 9: Enjoy with butter or your favorite jam.