6 Irish Breads to Bake and Serve Warm on St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and it’s time to find your gold at the end of the rainbow. Whether you plan on serving fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, or corned beef and cabbage on March 17, make sure the quintessential Irish baked goods also accompany your delectable dishes. You have plenty of choices, from scones to soda breads, or brown breads. Warm up your oven for one of these classic breads and enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day treat that isn’t green.
1. Irish Scones
Most consumers in the U.S. have varying ideas about scones – what distinguishes them and how they should be served – however, in Ireland, the scone is one thing everyone can agree on. Serve the warm baked good with butter and jam and you’ll win the favor of any Irish man or woman, and with this recipe highlighted on The Kitchn, you can’t go wrong.
Whether you make your scones with or without raisins, just make sure you make them, and serve them hot out of the oven for your favorite holiday revelers.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ to ¾ cup milk, cream, or a combination
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat in the oven.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Use your fingertips to work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture just holds together. Working the mixture as little as possible, add ½ cup milk and mix until it forms into a soft, slightly sticky ball. Add more milk if needed to reach desired consistency.
Place the dough on a very lightly floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough to a 1-inch thick slab. Slice the dough into triangles with a floured knife or bench scraper, or dip a biscuit cutter in flour and cut out the individual scones.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and arrange the scones on it. Bake 8 minutes, turn the scones over, and bake another 4 to 6 minutes, or until just barely brown.
2. Irish Brown Bread
Few dishes in Ireland are served without the accompaniment of a thick slice of warm brown bread, so if you’re really trying to get in the holiday spirit this St. Patrick’s Day, we encourage you to perfect your own loaf of the classic. Brown bread is dense, flavorful, and soaks up warm soups or stews perfectly – helping elucidate why it is always served alongside Irish staples such as vegetable soup and beef stew. Here’s a recipe for the bread from Food & Wine to check out. You’ll see that it calls for only 6 ingredients, and (thankfully), no yeast.
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8-by-5-inch metal loaf pan. In a large bowl, whisk both flours with the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the egg; stir into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until a rough dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Form the dough into a loaf and put it in the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the bread has risen about ½ inch above the rim of the pan. Once unmolded, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool to warm or room temperature, then slice and serve.
3. Classic Irish Soda Bread
And if you’re not going to make brown bread on March 17, you should consider making traditional Irish soda bread. According to Baking Bites, soda bread is different than other breads in that it uses baking soda, rather than yeast, as a leavener. That’s why the bread is more dense and hearty than its other carby competitors. Some bake it with currants, raisins, or caraway seeds, and serve it with a thick slab of butter. If we’ve successfully whet your appetite for soda bread, make your own via this recipe found on SodaBread.info. It’s surprisingly simple, and yields a fun alternative to your typical dinner bread.
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 14 ounces buttermilk
Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly crease and flour a cake pan. In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Place on floured surface and lightly knead. Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough. Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.
Another sweet bread that the Irish especially take a taste to is Barmbrack, which according to Saveur, is a treat that is usually made around Halloween as it dates back to the ancient Celtic harvest celebration, Samhain. Saveur explains that sometimes, special mementos such as beans, small pieces of cloth, or coins are hidden within the bread, and these treasures are supposed to “be omens for those who find them.” It’s up to you whether you want to make your barmbrack with hidden mementos, but if you do, we suggest warning your dinner guests. Either way, check out this recipe for the fruit bread from Saveur.
- 2 cups black tea, cooled
- ¾ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried currants, cranberries, or cherries
- 2 tablespoons each candied lemon and orange peel, minced
- 2 cups flour, plus more
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- Assorted charms, wrapped individually in parchment paper
- ⅓ cup honey, warmed
Directions: Stir tea, raisins, currants, and candied lemon and orange peel in a bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let sit 2 hours, then drain and set aside. Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a bowl; make a well in the center. Mix reserved fruit, the butter, milk, and egg in a bowl and add to well; stir until a wet dough forms. Press dough into a greased 8-inch cake pan and push charms into dough. Bake until firm, 35–40 minutes. Brush with honey; bake 2 minutes more. Let cool slightly; serve with butter, if you like.
5. Irish Potato Bread
One bite of this Irish Potato Bread will have you saying “Irish I was Irish!” That’s how good this traditional simple bread from Food.com is. And when we say simple, we mean simple. Requiring only 4 ingredients, there’s a high likelihood you won’t even have to run to the grocery store to pick up the necessities for this bread. As long as you have potatoes, flour, salt, and butter, you’re good to go.
- 4 potatoes
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
Directions: Peel and boil potatoes until tender. While hot, mash potatoes well with salt and butter. Gradually work in flour in smaller increments until a soft dough forms. Dough should be a little tacky but workable.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead for about 1 minute. Divide and roll into a circular shape about 9-inch and ¼-inch thick. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges. Grill in a hot, greased griddle or pan until well browned on both sides.
Last but not least: Boxty, or, the traditional Irish potato pancake. With this recipe from Chow, you can see just how versatile they’ve found the potato to really be. According to Chow, these Irish potato pancakes have a texture that are part-pancake, part-hashbrown, and they’re definitely savory. Boxty can be served with breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and can be the vehicle for any kind of topping. Whether you want to serve your pancake with meat, fish, cheese, or veggies, it’s up to you. This recipe couldn’t be easier.
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1¼ teaspoons fine salt, plus more for seasoning the potatoes before cooking
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Directions: Heat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop half of the potatoes into large dice, place in a medium saucepan, salt generously, and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the potatoes uncovered until fork tender, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, grate the remaining potatoes on the large holes of a box grater. Toss with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and place in a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl; set aside. When the boiled potatoes are ready, drain them, return them to the pot, add ¼ cup of the milk, and mash until the potatoes are smooth. With a plastic spatula, press the grated potatoes against the sides and bottom of the strainer to remove any liquid. Add the grated potatoes to the mashed potatoes (no need to stir though).
Place the egg, remaining ½ cup milk, flour, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and whisk until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add the potatoes and stir until evenly incorporated. Heat a large nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium heat.
Once the pan is ready, add enough butter to lightly coat the bottom when melted. Drop 3 dollops of the batter into the pan and spread each to about ¼ inch thick. Cook until the pancake bottoms are golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Place on a baking sheet and set in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter. Serve warm.