17 March 2009

The mystery of the soda bread - solved!

Whenever we visit my dad in Louisville, we almost always go to The Irish Rover for lunch. If you are ever down around that part of the country, I would highly recommend you make the trip, you will not be disappointed. The Irish Rover is a pub with authentic Irish recipes, they have thier Guinness shipped from Dublin, and the restaurant is housed in a 150 year old building that used to be a saloon. But it is the food that really makes this restaurant stand out in my eyes.

For an appetizer, we all usually share a couple scotch eggs. A scotch egg is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage, lightly breaded, and deep fried. Delicious. I have made these myself and they are wonderful. Surprisingly not as heavy or rich as you might think. For the mian course, I almost always order the fish and chips. They are the best I have ever had, and I would not even try to duplicate at home. A generous portion of Icelandic cod, fried extra crispy and served with unbelieveably delicious tartar sauce. Add a little malt vinegar and it doesn't get much better than that.

With the meal there is always a basket of bread at the table filled with sourdough and Irish soda bread. The sourdough is good, but I always go for the Irish soda bread. It is truly one of the best breads I have ever eaten. I don't know what it is, but I enjoy this bread more than any other. I have spent the last couple of years trying to find my own recipe that could compare. After countless dead ends searching on the internet, I finally decided to just ask for it at the restaurant. So, the last time we went to The Irish Rover, Valerie asked our server if we could have the recipe. He told us that they don't make it on-site anymore and he didn't have the recipe. What!? My last hope of finding the recipe was gone.

Defeated, I began looking again for soda bread recipes that I could use for our St. Patrick's Day meal. I always cook an Irish themed meal on the Friday after St. Patrick's Day for our Friday night get-togethers. Thinking I was on a fools errand, I started trying to find the Irish Rover soda bread recipe on the internet. I stumbled upon a website called Louisville Originals. There it was! The recipe was posted by the owners themselves on 01/04/2009. I had finally found it! I was beside myself with joy! I told Valerie, I called Angela, I called my dad; they probably thought I was a little nuts.

I couldn't wait until next Friday to make it, so I made a loaf for Michael's birthday meal. The taste and texture were spot on and what was even better is that it was fresh from the oven. Truly, a delicious loaf of bread. I am going to make it again this Friday, along with a Shepherd's pie and some scotch eggs. Angela is going to make the Chocolate Guinness Cake that was posted by the Irish Rover owners on the Louisville Originals site. It should be a meal to remember, thanks to The Irish Rover.

If you want an quick, easy, delicious bread, I have posted the recipe below. Please try it.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

Brown Soda Bread
Recipe by Michael & Siobhan Reidy, from Irish Rover
Printable Recipe

1 cup white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour, preferably coarse
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 T. butter
1 + cups of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450.Stir dry ingredients together with a fork. Cut butter into dry mix. Make a well in the center and pour in buttermilk. Stir to mix well, making a slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto floured surface. Working the dough as little as possible, pat it into a round loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 375 and continue baking for 30-40 minutes. Bread is done if tapping the bottom of the loaf produces a hollow sound. A spoonful of brown sugar may also be added to the dry ingredients for a sweeter loaf.

Cook Time: 45 Min


  1. If this is one of the better breads you've tried....I'm makin' it! I hope I can find buttermilk here?
    I'm reading this post on an empty stomach and my mouth is watering for some food o' the Irish!
    Happy Day!

  2. I made Irish Soda Bread two days ago with Caraway seeds and raisens. It was a new recipe, I'd lost my old one, and it turned out crummy. And here you are giving me a chance to try again. I still want the raisens and caraway seeds though. Thanks a bunch.

  3. You're welcome. I hope this recipe works better for you, Flutterby. If you have ever made biscuits, it is pretty much the same technique. It really is a lot like one big whole wheat biscuit. Yum!

  4. Eva, if you can't find buttermilk, I found a possible substitution. Use a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make a cup. I have never tried this, myself, so I don't know true it is to real buttermilk.

    If you don't want to try that, you can wait until you come back and I could make a loaf for you. It would be my pleasure.

  5. Thanks for the buttermilk tip, and I would love to 'break bread' with you.



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