The Great Irish Bake-off : Recipes


At Bronagh Duffin’s BakeHouse Cookery School, her Granny Susan’s Soda Bread is a favourite recipe. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, just add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to fresh milk and it will be perfectly acidic to react with the baking soda.

3 2/3 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

450 mL (1.9 cups) buttermilk

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and soda. Stir in 2/3 of the buttermilk and stir until you have a “shaggy” mixture. Add more buttermilk, kneading the dough in the bowl, to form a soft dough.

Form into a ball and set on a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, slash a cross into the top of the bread (“to let the fairies out”), then bake in a preheated 230 C oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 200 C and bake 20-30 minutes longer, until loaf is golden brown.

Recipe courtesy of Bronagh Duffin’s BakeHouse Cookery School



Chef Niall McKenna of James Street South restaurant in Belfast makes individual breads, like little miniature muffins, and serves with fresh Abernethy butter. This sweet, malty, dark bread could even stand in for dessert with a dram.

600g wholemeal all-purpose flour (5 cups)

150g white all-purpose flour (1 ¼ cup)

75g oatmeal (3/4 cup)

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

2 ½ tablespoons brown sugar

40g unsalted butter (3 Tbsp)

480 ml milk (2 cups)

200 ml treacle (4/5 cup or 7 fluid ounces)

½ pint draught Guinness (1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 170C (350 F). Place all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the dry ingredients until it resembles fine breadcrumbs – I recommend working quickly as the mixture can easily become greasy if over mixed, or if it is mixed using hands that are too warm. Add the milk, black treacle and the Guinness. Mix to create a wet dough.

Lightly grease individual 200g tins (small loaf pans) with butter. Add the wet dough and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the bread is well risen and cooked through. Leave for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Eat while slightly warm, if you like. Delicious with salty butter and Irish smoked salmon, cold meats or cheeses.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Niall McKenna of James Street South restaurant

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