I make Spotted Dog every morning when in peak season in the B&B; my guests love it and so does my family. It's a wonderful recipe I learned whilst attending a cookery course in Ballymaloe by the famous Darina Allen.
This is a fabulous Irish recipe, perfect to share with the readers in the lead up to St Patrick's Day. Ever the health conscious I've tweaked the original recipe just a little to make the bread a little healthier; which will help with the guilt of overeating it.
Spotted dog is wonderful with lashings of Kerrygold Butter (now softer) and Strawberrry jam, when fresh from the oven. But my own personal favorite way of having this bread is with Kerrygold butter and chunks of Mature Irish Cheddar Cheese and some creamy homemade coleslaw.
The trick to getting a fantastic light bread is all in the technique of lifting the flour and adding air into the dough; do not skip or slack on this step, Spotted Dog is sometimes called a cake of bread so treat the dough with the same care as you would treat a cake.
The bread freezes well too, sometimes I like to make two to three cakes of spotted dog; and when they are completely cooled, I half them and wrap them well in tin foil and freezer bags and throw them into the freezer. To defrost for a lovely breakfast bread at the weekends when it's just myself and my husband; I just take the half loaf out of the freezer and let it defrost on the counter top overnight.
- 200g plain flour
- 250g of wholemeal flour
- 350ml of buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp of bicarbonate soda
- 2 tsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 100g of sultanas
- 20g of porrigde oats
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
- Sift the flour into a bowl with the bicarbonate soda, sugar, salt and sultanas.
- Lift the mixture with your fingers, allowing the flour mixture to fallen between your fingers, this adds air to the flour and as mentioned above is a critical step in getting a nice light bread. Do this 10 times or so.
- Mix the buttermilk and the egg together in a jug.
- Making a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the liquid.
- Mix to combine, taking care not to over mix.
- Turn out onto the counter and mould gently into a round shape.
- Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Cut a cross in the cake with a sharp knife (Irish folklore says this is so the fairies can escape)
- Top the cake with the porridge oats and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes turn the oven down to 200 degrees and bake for a further 30 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack.
The bread doesn't keep very well over a few days; though I doubt there'll be any trouble in finishing it off in a day.
There's nothing more Irish than homemade soda bread; so why don't you try this recipe for St Patrick's Day.
(Above:Serving suggestion from Kerrygold Butter, Now Softer)
Wherever you are in the world Lá Fhéile Padriag Shona Daoibh; have a good one!
Don't forget to check out my recipe for a good strong Irish Coffee..http://serenasmediumrare.blogspot.ie/2012/03/best-irish-coffee.html
Go on, go on, go on!!