Irish Soda Bread- traditional recipe


I’ve made a lot of Irish soda bread.  My youngest son loves it and I got the recipe from

a friend of mine of Irish heritage- so I thought I was making a traditional recipe.

Turns out- no.  Irish soda bread does not contain sugar, or currants or any kind of dried

fruit whatsoever.

So I’m sharing a recipe I got from a couple of websites on Irish traditional cooking.

A couple of the websites were pretty adamant about what WASN’T in soda bread that

they neglected to give the recipe.  And a few more wrote about putting together flour,salt,

soda, and buttermilk without any instructions.  So I pieced together the information and used

my own experience and made a marvelous loaf whilst in Chincoteague.  It is like a biscuit-y tea

loaf- delicious with butter and orange marmalade- wonderful with a slice of corned beef!



4 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

14 oz (1 cup 3/4 ) buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease and flour round cake pan.

Whisk or sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add butter milk and stir to a sticky dough.

Dump onto a heavily floured surface and knead lightly- just for a minute or so- you don’t want to

release too much of the leavening gasses in overkneading.

Shape into a large round and cut a cross into the top.  Cover pan with another the same size- to keep

the bread moist and steam as well as bake.

Bake for 30 minutes and then remove top pan and bake for another 15 minutes.

The crust is a lovely thick brown when done and will sound hollow when thumped.

Cool with a damp tea towel on to top to keep it moist.

035It smells heavenly!

038Try to wait till it cools before cutting.


Although it is very tempting – still try to wait – or the knife will crush the crumb.


Add braised cabbage, skillet fried potatoes, and corned beef and have a wonderful

St. Patrick’s Day feast!

Sunday. and it was snowing.

Funny thing, that.  We have had so much snow this winter-

but it is usually here and then gone in a day or so.

Sunday morning it started snowing-


I decided to make some bread- toasting bread and bread wraps.

They both turned out good- and the bread wraps made a

great dinner.



The toasting bread has been wonderful this week!


But back to the snow.

It kept coming down- all day and by evening, we had at least 3 or 4 inches.

016020and icicles, too!

By Monday morning it was really quite pretty.


And by tomorrow- with 60 degree F temps it will all be gone again, until the next snow.

If you haven’t tried making your own bread wraps yet, I urge you to try.

It helps if it is snowing out, because it is a long  process cooking them on the stove top-  I made a

dozen wraps Sunday, and only have 2 left.

Tiddely Pom by A.A. Milne

The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom)
On snowing.
And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
Are growing.

(in which)The doldrums give way to moments of p-p-p-Pleasure

Strange title, that.

But really descriptive.

I am in the midst of the mid-winter doldrums.

Depression.  Down in the dumps.

The business of the holidays are over- and so is the magic and

mystery.  We have celebrated both spiritually and physically-

met together and rejoiced with those we love.

And now everyone is scattered.

And it is January.

There is snow.


It is kind of beautiful, but it is also cold and I really hate when the sun shines

on snow- it’s blinding. 

Today, however, I made a lunch up from various leftovers and it was very pleasing

to the palate and the ear.

Everything started with a P!


Fresh pineapple and pomegranate salad!


Potato soup!


Pulled Pork!


Pumpkin seeds or pepitas to garnish the soup and of course, my can of POP

(I know it is called soda in other parts of the world- but I call it pop)!


And my purple thumb from cleaning the seeds out of the pomegranate.

So- my alliterative luncheon gave me a moment of pure pleasure.

It happens that way sometimes.

BTW- did you notice the buns?  Fresh bread also makes me happy!


What is making you happy today?

Baking and Decorating in Chincoteague!

rest 005

Oatmeal and apricot cookies!


Mantle piece in dining room.


Christmas tree!




The tree is decorated JUST for Meredith!  The camel, elephants, and kangaroo

all represent her travels-  (Iraq, Thailand, Australia).  The mermaids, lighthouses,

firetrucks,seahorses and keys represent her house on Chincoteague.  The teapot and

cups on a tray- her preferred hot drink- and it all speaks of the sailor and places she has

been and hopes to go.  The pink flamingo is just to remind her how she needs to

have a sense of humor- (she hates pink, hates flamingoes, and hates the big picture

of a huge pink flamingo that graced the hallway of her house when she bought it!)

And, just in case you thought that one picture of cookies doesn’t count for much



-here’s a loaf of Italian bread I made yesterday!

Recipe for cookies-

1 stick butter

3/4 cup of white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 heaping cup AP flour

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

apricot and pecan paste*

Mix together the first five ingredients until smooth and creamy.

Measure all the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir, then add to

butter and sugar mixture.  Take a pinch of the apricot and pecan paste

and wrap cookie dough around it and place on parchment papered

baking pan, about 3 inches apart.

Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.

Apricot and pecan paste

1 1/2 cups dried apricots

1 cup chopped pecans

2 to 3 TBS white pear basalmic vinegar

1/2 cup honey

Put all ingredients into food processor and

run until everything is a paste.  Place in loaf pan lined with

parchment paper and cover top with another sheet of paper,

weigh down top to compress.

(See how Celia at Fig jam and Lime Cordial, makes a variation of

this in a fig and walnut paste- or an almond and apricot version. )

Making burger buns- recipe

 I made turkey burgers the other night.

They were great- but I didn’t have any good buns

in the freezer and I didn’t want to run out and buy

any- so I decided to make some.

I had about a cup of tempura batter that I had made up

the night before- and I’d used skim milk and an egg in the

batter, so I refrigerated it and decided to use it in the buns.

PLUS- my starter was really in need of being used.  I had neglected

it lately and was just starting to feed it up, but I had a LOT of starter

and didn’t want to throw it away so I decided to make sourdough

ham/turkey burger buns!


They really turned out delicious!

Here’s the recipe.

1 cup sourdough starter (recently fed 1 cup water/1 cup flour)

4 cups AP or plain flour

1 tsp rapid rise yeast

4 Tbs. melted butter

1/2 cup milk, scalded then cooled

small egg, beaten

1/2 cup HOT water

2 tsp salt ( I like a salty bread- you could cut this down if you don’t)

The milk and egg were the base of the tempura batter.  So if you have

some left over- feel free to use it in their place!Smile

I made a sponge with the starter, 1 cup flour and the milk.

I mixed it up and left it for a couple of hours.

It was bubbly when I came back, so I added everything else and mixed

it all up, oiled the bowl and left it to raise/rest for a bit.   About 10 minutes

later, I came back and folded it about 5 times, covered it and left it again-

this time for 20 minutes.  Then I folded it again for 5 or 6 times- it was smooth

and pliant- I placed it back in the bowl and let it raise for 45 minutes.

Then I shaped the dough into balls about the size of my fist, flattened them

down with the palm of my hand and using a bread press made slits across the tops.


I used parchment paper to bake on and sprinkled semolina flour on the paper before

placing the buns on top.

I let this raise for about 25 minutes ( suppertime was drawing near) and then baked in

a preheated oven 375 F for about 30 minutes.


They are so good.


And so were the turkey burgers!

Thick crust pizza- recipe


The beauty of pizza is that you can make it the way you like it.

The problem is that I haven’t found a way I DON’T like it, yet!

I’ve been making a lot of thin crust pizzas because all of that bread is just an extra load of

carbohydrates that I don’t really need.  But last night I made a thick crust or deep dish pizza

that was loaded with toppings.  Sausage, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and three kinds

of cheese ( provolone,mozzarella, and parmesan) so I needed a thicker crust to stand up to

the weight of the toppings!  It was so very good.  I really like thick crusted pizza so much

and because it was so filling I only had one piece. 

So – goodbye thin crust – at least for a while.  I’m making my pizzas THICK!!!

Here’s my recipe for pizza dough- it is also the recipe for knotty Italian rolls.

5 cups bread flour
2 tsp sea salt( or less- I like the salty yeasty,EVOO flavor)
1 1/2 cups warm water (105 F)
1 1/2 TBS yeast
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
Proof yeast in half cup of water- you can add 1/2 tsp sugar to expedite this step.
In large bowl stir salt and 4 1/2 cups flour together and make a small well at the bottom of the bowl.

Add warm water, olive oil and stir the flour just enough to moisten it, then add the foamy yeast

and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon . You may need to add a little more liquid at this point-

the dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
Dust surface of counter with remaining flour and dump dough out. Knead for at least 10 minutes

until dough is smooth and pliable. You may need to add a handful of flour – but not enough to dry out dough.

Smooth , pliable,and slightly sticky is the description of what you want at this point.

Then form a ball and place in bowl that has been oiled, cover with plastic and let raise at least an hour until double in size.

Now! Punch the dough down, knead gently for at least 5 minutes and let raise a second time until doubled again

(around 45 minutes) this second raise is what gives the dough that stretchy, yeasty, Italian flavor. Don’t skip it!
At the end of second raising, shape into desired bread or roll out (or toss) for pizza. Allow to raise about 1/2 hour

add toppings of your choice and bake at 350F until golden brown.


I’ve been roasting up my Roma tomatoes from the garden with garlic, basil , and olive oil- and I used that

in a paste form with a little Italian tomato sauce to use on the base of this pizza.  It added an extra dimension

to the flavor and a very nice texture to the sauce.  All in all- this is my best pizza, yet!

Saffron and honey Sun bread- recipe and photos


My son and grandson read me a story about a baker who baked a bread that lit up her kitchen.

I have made sun shaped bread before- and I wanted to make one

for Aidan to see!

So here is the recipe!

1 cup scalded milk

4 oz. margarine or butter

1 tsp saffron, crushed into powder in your mortar

1/4 cup honey

2 tsps rapid rise yeast ( or you could use regular yeast- just put it into the water

with a 1/2 tsp sugar to proof)

1 cup HOT water

5 1/2 to 6 cups bread flour

3/4 cup rye flour

1 tsp salt


Scald the milk, add the saffron and honey, and butter and stir- let the margarine melt,

and give the saffron a chance to turn the milk yellow. Open-mouthed smile


Mix the flours, salt, and yeast in a large bowl, make a well in the center of the flour

mix and pour both the milk mixture and hot water into the well and stir into the flour.

The dough should be a little sticky- if it is too dry add a little more water.

You don’t need to knead this dough- just mix all the flour into the dough and

put a smear of butter in the bowl.  Flour your hand, pick up the dough and fold it

back into the bowl.  Fold several times smearing the butter around the surface of the

dough and then cover and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  Fold again, at least four times.

Cover and leave it alone for another 10-20 minutes.  Fold again- it should be rather smooth

by now, wipe a little butter across the top of the dough and cover  and leave alone for

about 90 minutes, until doubled in size.


Now shape 9 small oblong pieces and place in a circular shape.

Make a large dough ball and fit it over the ends of the pieces.

Pinch the ends of the pieces so they look like a sun’s rays.

Roll out small ropes of dough and build a face and attach with  the sharp end of a

bamboo skewer- pushing the ropes into place and securing them by going under

the surface lightly.  Brush the top with an egg wash and cover- let raise for about 45

minutes, until it is almost double- and puffy looking and then bake at 375 F until

golden brown- around 35 minutes.


You can shape this dough easily into any form you want-

I also made some star bursts, rolls and a small loaf.


And they turned out quite deliciously beautiful, as well


Marbled Sourdough Rye- recipe


I broke the rules and cut the bread whilst it was still warm- I couldn’t

help myself.  I was hungry.

It was lunchtime and I wanted –


This for lunch.  Avocado with lots of black pepper on rye!

This is one of my ALL-TIME favorite sandwiches.

But first I had to make the bread.

My starter had been complaining of not being used enough.

My bread had become rather white and boring- mostly toast bread for my husband’s


And so I decided to make a marble that he could toast and I could enjoy.

I made a classic sourdough rye-

1 cup starter (sorry Celia and Joanna- I don’t know the saturation- but I had been feeding

it a cup of water (approx) to a cup of flour (again, approximate)- for several days before I

used it.)

2 cups dark rye flour

1 cup white rye flour

1 cup high gluten white bread flour

1 tsp yeast

I- 1 1/2 cups warm water

2 tsp sugar

1 TBS salt

2 TBS molasses

3 TBS butter

1/2 cup milk scalded

3 tsp caraway seeds

I added all the flours to the starter and mixed in the water with the sugar and yeast

proofed into it at once.  ( Did I mention I wanted to eat the avocado sandwich for lunch?)
Then I scalded the milk for 2 minutes on high in the microwave, added the butter and molasses

and mixed that into the dough, adding the salt and seeds last.

Mixed it well, kneaded it for about 10 minutes and shaped into a ball to raise.

Then I made a quick white bread-

3 cups bread flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp yeast

1 1/2 cups water

– proofed the yeast with the water, added flour and salt- and kneaded for about

5 minutes and then put into greased bowl and allowed to raise.

After about 45 minutes- I divided the dough in half and made two loaves (it wasn’t actually

in half I had a Large ball and a medium ball) –one a long loaf and one shaped in the banneton.


For the shaping, I rolled out the rye, and then place a smaller piece of white dough on top and

rolled it up, pinching it very severely to keep it in shape.

Slashed the long loaf and let them both raise for another 45minutes to an hour.

I then preheated the oven very hot- 500 F degrees and put in a tin of hot water

and placed the long loaf into the oven.   I should have turned the heat down to 450 F but I

was distracted with the banneton loaf and was busy transferring it to a parchment papered



The slashes were too deep and the white bread broke through and the oven WAS

too hot, so the first loaf was quite dark.


I had turned down the temp for the second loaf- and it was quite pretty (which

was fortunate because I’m giving this loaf to some friends!)

 I ended up baking the first loaf for about 45 minutes, the second loaf for almost

the same time- but at a lowered temperature.

But I did get my sandwich – only a little late for my regular lunch time- and it was

exactly what I wanted!

And that is part of the reason I love baking bread-


The essentials of a good rye (or why I ground my own flour!)


I was looking for a good rye bread yesterday.

I had depleted my freezer supply.

Run out of the last baking I did in Chincoteague.

And I just can’t buy the insipid loaves they sell at the stores locally.

I went to the bulk food store to buy some flour,

and all they had was a very fine white rye flour.

Sad. SAD. downright sad.

So I bought some rye berries-


got out my grinding apparatus-





And ground my own dark rye flour.


The little red hen hasn’t got anything on me!



It took a little while because my grinder is

almost as old as I am.  And it is done by

hand- and I didn’t have it clamped down on

my husband’s new table.

But I ended up with almost a cup and figured

that would give me enough fiber and texture

in my loaves.

Then I fed up my sourdough and added 1 cup of

the white rye and 3/4 cup warm water and let that

prove overnight.

At the same time, I followed Joanna’s advice,

and poured hot water on another cup of white

rye and stirred until smooth and then left with

the sourdough starter poolish/sponge to prove

for at least 8 hours (overnight).

This morning I added the rough ground flour, 2 tsp.

sea salt, 2 TBS butter, and 1/4 cup sorghum molasses

and enough water and high gluten wheat flour to

give me enough dough for 2 loaves of bread.

I put the dough in a warm place to raise for an hour,

then shaped it into two loaves- one for the banneton

and one in a loaf tin, covered them loosely and then

let them raise another hour and a half.


I added some golden flaxseed for flavour and

beauty and made the mistake of cutting a vent

in the top.  I think it destroyed the integrity of

the gluten cloak and the loaf got sloppy in shape.

Then I baked them a 375 F for about 45 minutes.


Although I’m not entering them into a beauty




And I sliced it for a crumb shot before it cooled


All in all, I am quite happy!

I love rye bread with golden flax seed.

A note of thanks!


A huge thank you to Celia,of fig jam and lime cordial fame !

Celia had just gotten some bannetons to raise and shape her

breads, and when I rather effusively admired and drooled all

over them on-line, sent me one as well!

Here is my first effort.  It should have been a great success, but

I was rather forgetful along the way- let the dough raise too high

in the first raising, was a little too liberal in the rye flour dusting,

and then forgot to preheat the oven.  The bread was a whole wheat

it was delicious- but it doesn’t look as great as I’d like!

I’m trying again tomorrow.

I just wanted to say thanks, again to Celia-

and give a preview of my new bread shape!