In years past airy popovers, a golden braided challah, fluffy brioche or another light style of bread graced our Easter tables. Rain clouds and a damp chill settled in to southeastern NC this year, so I went for dark and dense.
Soda bread originated in Irish kitchens around the middle of the 19th century. Traditional recipes utilize only four basic ingredients: flour, salt, buttermilk (or soured or “clabbered” milk), and baking soda as a leavener — making a hearty, nourishing loaf easily and in short order.
Though you may be accustomed to loaves studded with currants, raisins, dried cranberries or a combination, fruit is typically reserved for tea cakes and tea breads in Ireland. You are, of course, welcome to deviate. Mine is without, but I did add 2 teaspoons of mildly sweet and aromatic ground anise seed.