If you ask for a slice of soda bread in Ireland, however, you probably won't find any of those added ingredients. Also called brown soda bread, the tradition Irish version is a simple combination of flour (often whole wheat), baking soda, salt and buttermilk. Some incorporate a little sugar and butter into the mix.
In the March issue of Bon Appétit, Andrew McCarthy (yes, that Andrew McCarthy) traveled to Ireland to track down what he remembered as the perfect Irish soda bread. He ended up at Ballinalacken Castle Country House & Restaurant and brought home the recipe for Mrs. O'Callaghan's Soda Bread. If you're looking for a more traditional version, that might be a good place to start.
Personally, I find myself in that third category, drawn to some modern twists on the classic bread. My favorite recipe (pictured on the right) also comes from Bon Appétit. It's a savory version that incorporates oats, browned butter, black pepper and rosemary.
So, where do you stand? Do you have a favorite recipe for Irish Soda Bread?
Related: Recipe: My Mother's Irish Soda Bread
- Bon Appétit: A Slice Of Ireland and Mrs. O'Callaghan's Soda Bread
- Epicurious: Brown Butter Soda Bread