I should imagine that everyone knows, but, for those who don’t, Spelt is an ancient flour – so it’s centuries-old – that fell from popularity for some reason.
It originates from the South Americas and is now making a sort of a comeback – in that it’s regaining its reputation in the USA and once again, St Patrick’s Day, 17th March, wouldn’t be complete without this wonderfully simplistic bread!
Spelt Flour Irish Soda Bread was first made in South America and is a course white flour – although you can buy it in the wholemeal flour, I prefer white.
The Original Version
I’ve read talk about high protein flour but, with this bread, it isn’t necessary. Other variations on the theme discuss eggs and olive oil, honey and treacle, sugar, and molasses. You may call me old fashioned, but the first time I make anything, I like to do it the original way. I can always alter the recipe later, but the first time I make it, I want to do things kosher and see first how that turns out.
St Patrick’s Day in USA and Ireland
In America on St Patrick’s Day, the Americans have a lot of celebrating to do, and they certainly do that day justice every year as 17th March turns up on the calendar.
Everyone wears, or has, something green; Guinness is drunk to capacity, and everything Irish is on display and available – including Irish Whiskey, which is drunk in copious quantities. The aroma of Irish Stew is everywhere, as is that famous of all Irish recipes, Corned Beef and Cabbage. You’ll find Irish Soda Bread there, of course, and many other Irish Classics.
Corned Beef and Cabbage and Irish Stew
The two well-known Irish dishes called Corned Beef and Cabbage, and Irish Stew, are regarded as peasant food. Still, everyone eats everything so heartily and with such relish that they savor every moment, and I can tell you I would not swap a dish of Irish Stew or Corned Beef and Cabbage for something fancier!
However, you’ll be glad to hear that these foods are not only eaten on St. Patrick’s Day. They are eaten all year round, anywhere in the world on any day, and one of them I intend to eat today.
Spelt Flour Irish Soda Bread
It is Spelt Flour Irish Soda Bread. I know I can make it today because I have all the ingredients I’ll need in my kitchen, and if I tell you that I only need four components, you’ll probably laugh and shake your head at me! But it is so, only four ingredients to make this old bread and you’ll be well surprised how good it tastes.
I’m no Baker but….
I’m no bread maker, nor am I a Baker – I don’t have the patience. Waiting for the yeast to rise, then knocking it back, then waiting again and then…oh dear, no, I don’t have that amount of waiting in me. I would have to bake and write at the same time or bake and read something to keep my mind busy.
I do Have the Patience to Bake This!
There are lots of people like me – just don’t have the patience to wait for all the raising and proving, etc., when you’re baking. That’s why I’m writing this today. Because I think when I tell you that you really can make and bake a loaf of bread in under an hour and be eating it on the hour, you will probably be very interested. You will undoubtedly think about giving it a try.
So, let’s get started because all this talk is making me hungry.
Spelt Flour Irish Soda Bread (Plain)
- 3 x 1/2 Cups white spelt flour(420g)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 x 3/4 cups buttermilk
Heat youroven to 424º (218º
Get a Baking Sheet ready by spraying it with your choice of cooking oil.
Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda, together, into a large mixing bowl
In thecenter, make a deep well and pour into this 1 x ½ cup of buttermilk.
Take 1 x ¼ cup of buttermilk and place somewhere for later
The flour and the buttermilk should now be mixed quickly to form a softish dough – moistand springy, not sloppy and wet.
If needed for the dough, now is the time to add the reserve ¼ cup of buttermilk.
o But only if needed. Remember, you must be fast as the rising action has begun.
Turn out thedough onto a floured surface and knead it four or five times.
Form it nowinto a six-inch mound
Now transferthe dough onto a six-inch baking sheet.
Using a sharp knife cut a cross on the top, about ¼ inch deep.
In the preheated oven, bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
You should check for doneness by carefully lifting the loaf off the baking sheet and then lightly tap it on the bottom. If it is done, it will sound hollow.
Finally, let the bread cool for a few minutes on a baking rack, serve warm.
This size of the load should yield about eight servings.
I Have Such a Sense of Accomplishment!
So, in less than one hour, there it sits on my wood chopping board in all its glory. It may sound childlike, but it gives me such a sense of accomplishment. I’m transported instantly to a happy mood for the rest of the day!
Maybe Blue Cheese
Now, here is the other good part – with what shall I eat it? I’ve been thinking about a good cheese – say a blue cheese and butter or perhaps butter and cheddar cheese and chutney. It’s a really dense bread so one slice can really mop up a lot of gravy from an Irish Stew!
A Sweet Version
There is another version of this soda bread with raisins, that you might like to eat with butter and real strawberry jam and maybe (to treat yourself) just a spoon or two of double cream! I don’t have a sweet tooth myself and could happily just bake the plain one but, perhaps I should talk to you about the sweet recipe, and then, at least, you’ll have a choice – or even both!
Irish Soda Bread with Raisins
- 4 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ½ cup margarine softened
- ⅔ cup raisins
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup melted butter
- ¼ cup buttermilk
Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease a large baking sheet
Take a large bowl and mix flour, baking soda,baking powder, salt, margarine, and raisins.
Now take 1 cup of buttermilk and one egg and stir in,
The dough should be kneaded on a lightly floured surface. Form dough into a round, then place it on the baking sheet.
In a smaller bowl, mix together the ¼ cup of buttermilk and the melted butter.
Brush the loaf with this liquid mixture.
Take a very sharp knife (I use a small sharp vegetable knife) and cut a cross X into the top of the loaf, right in the centre.
Now you can bake this loaf for 45-50 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Leave for a few minutes but serve warm with preserves, strawberry preserve, and double cream, or whatever you please.
I sincerely hope you can’t resist making at least one of these because I know, once you’ve made one, you won’t be able to resist eating one!!
Please don’t keep this bread in the refrigerator. If there’s any leftover (I doubt it), wrap it carefully in plastic and freeze until you’re ready to eat the rest, then let it defrost naturally.