I made my own soda bread awhile back and it was brilliant. I was amazed that something so simple and easy to make could be so delicious. Then I made it with Odlum’s coarse wholemeal flour. Predictably, it was even better.
I used a recipe that was given to my brother-in-law by a customer. The recipe included her personal baking notes. I followed the recipe as altered by the notes. Except that I didn’t bake it in a loaf pan because I was hungry and thought that it would be done quicker if I just shaped and baked it on a sheet pan. It still took 45 minutes but it was so worth it. It reminded me why most soda bread in Ireland is made from this type of flour. More flavor, better texture. Although not traditional, I sprinkled the loaf with poppy seeds before putting it in the oven.
Once the bread was done, I immediately ate a huge hunk for lunch along with some Irish cheddar, a hard boiled egg and some tomato jam. It was the perfect simple lunch. I ate some later with peach-apricot jam from this little gem right across the way from Paddy's, creme fraiche and a cup of tea.
Of course I had to look up Hargadon’s after tasting this bread credited to it. According to www.goodfoodireland.ie
Back in the mid 1800’s, when this pub first opened, Hargadons was a well-loved, local hostelry with a truly unique quality. Despite the prevalence of music bars and the myriad traditional musicians in the country, Hargadons remained a ‘quiet’ bar, devoid of music and dedicated to its position as a genuine sanctuary. This policy remained in situ until fairly recent times and despite it being relaxed in the last years, it remains free of television and devoted to conversation, story telling and of course good food. The pub has been at the heart of Sligo life for over one hundred and fifty years and despite being closed for some of them, has recently returned to its rightful place, close to the heart of Sligo folk and visitors.
It sounds like the kind of place where this bread must have originated.
If you are baking this, you must make sure to preheat your oven before you start to get your ingredients together. This bread comes together so fast that if you don’t, you will be waiting for your oven - not the worst problem to have.
Hargadon’s Brown Bread
- 3 cups coarse wholemeal flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
Preheat your oven to 375F.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Beat the eggs and the buttermilk together in a small bowl.
Create a well in your dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk-egg mixture in.
Using a wooden spoon, or your hands (I found it was easiest to use my hands and that no additional buttermilk was necessary) mix the dry and wet ingredients until no dry flour remains.
Shape the dough into a round on a greased sheet pan and cut an X across the top. The X should go about ⅔ of the way deep into the loaf.
Top with poppy seeds (optional).
Bake for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cut off a hot slice, slather with salted butter and enjoy.