Reasons to love Ireland – Soda Bread

One thing I really missed when I was living in the US was good old fashioned soda bread.  There was never a shortage of it in our house – every Saturday morning after the cleaning was done my mother would start the baking – soda bread, curney loaf and maybe queen and butterfly cakes if we were good!  That smell in the house – of clean and baking is one of the most enduring memories of my childhood.     There are very few things in this life nicer than fresh cut soda bread with melted Kerrygold butter and jam (I’m partial to blackcurrant myself!).  At one stage she also got the loan of an old traditional griddle pan and we gorged ourselves on griddle bread for a few weeks – the like Pringles ad – once you pop you can’t stop with griddle bread.   History  Now for something of a history lesson on soda bread!  Firstly – we didn’t invent it… the Native American Indians were the first to use it but we have made soda bread our own.  Initially it was seen as a way of making bread with poor flour or lack of yeast and since the majority of Irish would have been relatively poor they adopted this method of making bread.  Bread soda is said to have been introduced to Ireland in the early 1800’s, some pinpoint it as being about 1835-1840.   Traditionally the ingredients are flour (or self-raising flour), bread soda, salt and buttermilk.  The flour used was a fine or cake flour which was lower in gluten than traditional flour.  A wheat flour was also substituted to...