Irish Soda Bread & Buttered Eggs from The Scottish Prisoner

Irish Soda Bread & Buttered Eggs from The Scottish Prisoner

He’d done what planning was possible.  Once the strategy and tactics of a battle were decided, you put it out of your mind until you came to the field and saw what was what.  Trying to fight a battle in your head was pointless and did nothing but fret the nerves and exhaust the energies.

He’d had a hearty breakfast of black pudding and buttered eggs with toasted soda bread, washed down with Mr. Beckett’s very good beer.  Thus internally fortified, and dressed in a county gentleman’s good wool suit – complete with gaiters to save is lisle stocking from the mud – and with several documents carefully stowed in separate pockets, he was armed and ready.

Qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum illuc, unde negant redire quemquam

Now he goes along the dark road, thither whence they say no man returns.

Diana Gabaldon, The Scottish Prisoner (Chapter 22 – Glastuig)

We’re finishing off our month of LJ with two out of three items from his Irish breakfast in The Scottish Prisoner.

I’ve excluded the black pudding for the simple reason that I can’t buy it here on my tiny island.  I love black pud.  I crave it when we’re back in the UK traveling and visiting friends and family, but I rarely think to add it to my list when we’re doing a “big shop” in Victoria, a 45 minute ferry ride away.

(And while I’m pretty adventurous and willing to give most things at least one go, I’m short both the barrel and the pig’s blood to attempt Claire’s black pudding from ABOSAA — Lizzie’s beer is another matter, though.  Watch for my first batch in the next couple of weeks!)

soda-bread-dough

The timing is just right for soda bread, with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner.  There are a number of variations: sweet with currants or raisins, savoury with caraway seeds, plain made with white flour, brown made with whole wheat.  All are traditionally baked in a round loaf cut into farls, or quarters.

Soda bread is leavened with baking soda instead of yeast. Ready in minutes rather than hours, the loaf is dense with a thick crust and wonderful when slathered in butter and served with soup for lunch.  Add cheese and jam for the  perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea and toast yesterday’s leftovers for tomorrow’s breakfast.

soda-bread-farls

My version combines both white and wheat flours.  Soda bread has a bit of a reputation as being tough, so I used pastry flour to balance the extra chewiness from the whole wheat flour.

With that in mind, I think most of you know by now that I’m a big fan of using what you have in your pantry.  If you don’t have pastry or cake flour, use the All-Purpose in your cupboard.  The difference is slight, and if you decide you can’t live without soda bread, then you can always go buy the pastry/cake flour for subsequent loaves.

Other than mixing the flours, I kept the recipe basic.  Buttermilk is a common ingredient here on OK.  Mrs. Bug’s Buttermilk Drop Biscuits, Honey-Buttermilk Oatbread at Madame Jeannes and Jem’s Mickey Mouse Pancakes all use it.  If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute clabbered milk instead.  See the notes below the recipe.

As for the raisins, you either love ‘em or hate ‘em.  I leave the choice up to you.

soda-bread-eggs-COPY

Buttered Eggs

: Delicious, creamy eggs that are out-of-this-world rich and stick to your ribs until lunch.

Use 1 Tablespoon of butter per egg.  Beat the eggs well with a fork, and season with salt and pepper.  Do not add milk or cream.

Melt the butter in a heavy pan over medium-low heat.  When the butter froths, add the eggs, and use a fork or spatula to occasionally gently stir the eggs and scrape them from the bottom and sides of the pan as they cook.

Remove the pan from the heat while some liquid egg still remains and stir off heat to finish the cooking — do not overcook the eggs — they should be very moist.

Season to taste and serve hot, garnished with chopped green onions and parsley.

soda bread

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Irish Soda Bread from The Scottish Prisoner

: Dense and crusty, just like Tobias Quinn…also delicious fresh out of the oven, or toasted the next day.

Yield:  1 Loaf

  • Raisins – ½ – 1 Cup (120-240 ml) (optional)
  • Buttermilk – 1½ Cups (360 ml)
  • Pastry or Cake Flour – 2 Cups (500 ml)
  • Whole Wheat Flour – 2 Cups (500 ml)
  • Sugar – 1 Tble (15 ml)
  • Baking Soda – 1 tsp (5 ml)
  • Salt – 1 tsp (5 ml)

Read the recipe through at least once before you begin.

Move the rack to the centre position and preheat the oven to 425° F.

Soak the raisins (if using) in the buttermilk in a small bowl for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir well.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk and raisins.  Mix until just combined.

Knead 3 to 4 times on a lightly floured counter, then shape into a disk about 7” across and 2” deep on a parchment lined baking sheet or cast iron skillet.  Cut a 1” deep cross in the dough and bake until golden, about 30-40 minutes.

Cool on a rack before slicing.  Soda bread is best eaten within hours of baking.  Wrap leftovers tightly and consume within the next 2 days.

Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)

Notes:

  • To make clabbered milk (a substitute for buttermilk), mix 1½ Cups whole milk with 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or lemon/lime juice.  Set aside for 10 minutes, then proceed with recipe.

I am a professional chef, a food writer and an unabashed fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

31 Comments

  1. Susan @ Tartan Rush

    I want to try that soda bread, it looks wonderful! The link for the printed recipe doesn’t seem to be working just now though. Keep the tasty ideas coming!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thanks for the heads up, Susan…link fixed!

      Reply

      • Diane

        Love your site. I get so excited when a new recipe pops up! If using currants, would you use the same quantity as raisins? I imagine other dried fruits would also be tasty. Also, how much caraway seed? I used to have a recipe from my dear MIL. Thank you.

        Reply

        • Theresa

          I would probably stick to 1/2 or 3/4 Cup if using currants, Diane…just cause they’re smaller. I’ve seen recipes with dried cranberries, apricots, etc…I’m sure all are tasty! 2 tablespoons of caraway seed is probably about right.

          Reply

  2. scoutlady13

    Going to have to try that buttered egg recipe, though I’d have to go with the savory soda bread. There is an Anglo-Irish restaurant in Ocean Shores WA that does a truly ethereal soda bread; think I may have to drive out there this weekend for a corned beef omelette, a pint of Harp, and a couple loaves of their bread.

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Take out the raisins and maybe reduce the sugar, and you have a delicious savoury loaf of soda bread. Sounds like a better plan than driving all that way!

      Reply

  3. Denise Twist

    My breakfast is now in the oven and smelling fantastic, thanks to you! I’ll start the eggs as the bread cools – I’m starving!

    Reply

  4. Taking On Magazines

    I say yes to the raisins for sure! The entire breakfast looks fantastic and personally I thank you for not including the blood pudding. Just the thought makes me throw up a little.

    Reply

    • Theresa

      If I called it tasty sausage that just happens to be black, would that make it easier to try? LOL

      Reply

  5. Michelle Bennetts Heumann

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Thank you, Michelle! I’m really touched!

      Reply

  6. sunshineyness

    I’m gonna try the bread another day, but on a whim I tried making scrambled eggs this way (I usually leave out butter and just use a little milk in the beating process) and SWEET JESU! Fantastic!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Now that’s passion for buttered eggs! Glad you liked them. :D

      Reply

    • NurseOnWheels

      Ayi yi yi, I totally agree…..I tried the eggs this morning and my taste buds were in Heaven!!

      Reply

  7. Ms. Aaron Brown

    Buttered eggs are a staple our house- so yummy. I will have to try the bread to add to it!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      I get the feeling your kitchen always smells wonderful, Aaron!

      Reply

  8. Mindy Reed

    Made the Soda Bread tonight, minus the raisins (unfortunately I was fresh out ) BUT… It was AMAZING regardless!! Gonna make the eggs in the am to go with the eft over bread …. Come on breakfast time!!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Blimey, Mindy! You’re turning Irish! :D

      Reply

  9. Donna

    I am going to make the soda bread this weekend. And those eggs….well, they are my fav!

    Reply

    • Theresa

      Hoping to see a pic of the bread when it’s done, Donna!

      Reply

  10. denizb33

    I love breakfast. I love it when you do bread posts!
    Still haven’t been brave enough to make my own, though… I did make apple pie today! Not as weird as it sounds; when I bake it’s usually oatmeal or chocolate…

    Reply

  11. Lori Jamieson

    I just put a batch of this soda bread int the oven. I’m just wondering though about the fat. There’s none in the ingredients above…I panicked a bit and cut 1/4 cup of butter into the dry ingredients. But did you intend to make fat free and does it turn out OK?

    Thanks for all your work on this site. It makes such good reading, and good eating.

    Reply

    • Theresa

      The recipe is correct as written. Lots of breads all over the world don’t contain any fat. For example, bagels, baguettes, etc.

      Reply

  12. Julie

    Hi! I really enjoy your website! I have to add my bit to the “Irish soda bread” post. My Grandmother grew up in Belfast, and her Mother did also. Her Father was from Scotland. According to my Grandma and Great Grandma the ONLY way to make soda bread is as follows:
    Mix together 2 heaping cups of flour, 1 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda, and 1 tablespoon sugar.
    Make a well in center of ingredients and add enough buttermilk to moisten dough enough to hold together.
    If you must, add currants. Divide dough in half, pat into ball. Coat ball in flour. Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat. Place dough in skillet, pat down into a round. When toasty brown, flip and cook other side.
    We always cut into farls, then split horizontally to toast, and serve with butter, jam, and soft cheese. It is quite delicious, and very easy once you get the hang of it! BTW- I have the original cast iron skillet handed down from my Great Grandma that came from Ireland- makes it taste that much better!!

    Reply

  13. Penny

    I’ve had black pudding when last I was in Scotland. An unusual taste, but nay bod.

    Reply

  14. Alice Watkins

    Whenever I use baking soda and buttermilk I stir the soda into the milk. That way you don’t end up with a clump of baking soda in the finished product. (Icky). Generally I’m making corn bread when I do this but I don’t see why soda bread would be different. You might stir the salt in as well for good distribution.

    Reply

    • Theresa

      I’m glad that works for you! I’ve always been taught the opposite, including at chef’s school. I stir soda and salt into the dry ingredients well, before adding the wet. It’s the accepted method, and has always worked for me. :)

      Reply

  15. Amy

    I always wanted to try to make soda bread, and your recipe looked both simple and tasty. I’m baking a loaf right now – used all-purpose flour, and soaked the raisins. If you use more than 1/2 c of raisins, you do need more liquid to pull the dough together. I put in about 2 T additional of whole milk (I didn’t measure – just eyeballed), and it seemed to do the trick. Next time I will make 1 2/3 c buttermilk (I use powdered buttermilk). This is my first time using buttermilk, and my first time baking on parchment! Hope it all works well. And thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise!

    Reply

  16. Terri B

    Hi Theresa.

    We had several family members come for Thanksgiving and stay overnight. In the morning, my Husband and I made a traditional big breakfast for our guests -pancakes, bacon, sausage, etc. ..and this year added Lord John’s buttered eggs. Later that evening my sister was still raving about those delicious moist eggs and the next morning my father requested a repeat of those really good eggs (and he watched me make them so he can do it himself at home. :-)) Thanks for a great improvement to good old scrambled eggs.

    Terri B

    (Oh, BTW – one of our post-Thanksgiving breakfast staples is Fiona’s cinnamon scones. They are a crowd favorite.)

    Reply

  17. Amy

    The bread came out just great – dense, almost hard, and wonderful toasted with butter, marmalade, cream cheese. It was far denser and less sweet than the soda breads I have had in Irish restaurants, so it was a surprise! I am fortunate to have good Irish friends who clued me in on the proper way to enjoy soda bread. It really made a difference. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply

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