Darina Allen is Ireland’s best-known chef. She is the owner of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork, Ireland. An indefatigable teacher, she is also a food writer, newspaper columnist, cookbook author and television presenter. Her domain, the world-renowned cookery school, is the only one in the world located in the middle of its own 100-acre organic farm. In March of this year, Darina demonstrated the making of Irish soda bread to the prestigious “Les Dames d’Escoffier” group in New York, for one of Kerrygold’s annual St. Patrick’s Day events. While making soda bread wasn’t news to this expert group, Darina’s technique certainly was. Using an outstretched hand and a circular motion, Darina quickly and efficiently gathered the dry and wet ingredients in the bowl to form a dough in less than five minutes.
Butter is back- and it’s here to stay! To commemorate this week’s edition of Time magazine, which celebrates butter in all its golden glory, we decided to share this recipe for Irish Soda Bread with you- the perfect vehicle for lashings of Kerrygold Butter!
So taken were all of us at Kerrygold with this technique, that we asked Darina to demonstrate the recipe on video to share with you. Here it is!
Darina Allen’s Irish Soda Bread
- 1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 13 to 16 ounces buttermilk (depending on the consistency of the buttermilk)
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- Mix the flours in a large wide bowl, add the salt and sieved baking soda. Lift the flour up with your fingers to distribute the salt and baking soda.
- Make a well in the center and pour in all the buttermilk. With your fingers stiff and outstretched, stir in a circular movement from the center to the outside of the bowl in ever increasing concentric circles. When you reach the outside of the bowl, seconds later the dough should be made.
- Sprinkle a little flour on the worktop. Turn the dough out onto the floured worktop. (Fill the bowl with cold water so it will be easy to wash later.)
- Sprinkle a little flour on your hands. Gently tidy the dough around the edges and transfer to oven tray. Tuck the edges underneath with your hand; gently pat the dough with your fingers into a loaf about 1 1/2-inch thick. Now wash and dry your hands.
- Cut a deep cross into the bread (this is called ‘blessing the bread’ and then prick it in the center of the four sections to let the fairies out of the bread).
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 400°F for a further 15 or 20 minutes. Turn the bread upside down and cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes until cooked (the bottom should sound hollow when tapped). Cool on a wire rack
Makes 1 loaf.
- Brown Soda Bread: Replace half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
- Dubliner Soda Bread: Before baking, brush loaf with egg wash (egg beaten with a little milk) and sprinkle with shredded Dubliner cheese.
- Cheese Scones: After the soda bread has been shaped, flatten it out and cut into pieces to form scones. Brush tops with egg wash (egg beaten with a little milk), dip tops into shredded Dubliner cheese and bake, cheese-side up, 10 minutes in a 450° F oven; cook on wire rack.
Recipe by Darina Allen