Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Soda Bread

St. Patrick’s Day is approaching and it’s the perfect time to start planning for a celebration.  A visit to Butcher Block in Sunnyside, Queens is all you need to stock up on authentic Irish culinary treats and imported items.

You can buy already prepared meals like corned beef and cabbage, bangers and mash, or all you need to make an Irish breakfast.  At their butcher counter you’ll find every cut of meat including a variety of sausages, black and white pudding, boiling bacon, rashers, and more.

The aisles in Butcher Block are stocked with an array of usually hard-to-find imported items including jams, jellies, teas, stone ground Irish flour; basically everything that keeps Irish expats shopping there daily.  Use their stone ground Irish flour and incredibly creamy Kerrygold Irish butter (made from the milk of grass-fed cows) to bake a soda bread and you’ll feel luckier than a leprechaun.

 

 

According to The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread, it traditionally only contained 3 ingredients: flour, baking soda, and soured milk.  But, many Irish-Americans have adapted it and started their own tradition of adding currants, raisins, or caraway seeds.  It’s a sweet and savory bread that is served at mealtimes, but in the U.S. is also often eaten for dessert or breakfast.  Here’s an easy recipe for a flavorful, albeit untraditional, Irish Soda Bread made with ingredients all purchased from Butcher Block.  It’s great on its own or topped with one of the unique jams sold in their shop, like Crossogue Preserves’ Blackcurrant & Irish Stout, and some imported Irish butter.

 

For 1 large loaf you’ll need:

  • 3 cups Odlums Coarse Wholemeal Flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
  • ½ cup Odlums whole wheat bran
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Combine flour, salt, baking powder and soda in the bowl of a large food processor until well mixed.  Add butter and process just until mixture is combined and appears crumbly.  Remove to a large mixing bowl and stir in wheat bran, raisins and caraway seeds.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Stir in buttermilk with a wooden spoon.  Mixture will combine to form a sticky ball.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board and, with floured hands, knead for a minute or two to combine, and then shape into a round loaf.  Place on baking sheet, sprinkle with flour, then use a knife to cut an X shape into the top.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bake for 1 hour until golden brown.  Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

 

 

Butcher Block: Full-service butcher and food shop; imported and Irish specialty products as well as prepared meals. Catering and free delivery service available.

Hours: Open 8am-9pm, 7 days a week

Where: 43-46 41st Street, Sunnyside; 718-784-1078

 

 

 

By Vivian Cardinale