Twice or three times a week I bake the brown soda loaf you see on this page. It is Neven Maguire’s recipe from a book of his which I was gifted one Christmas.
The book is called “Home Economics for Life” and I believe my wife, Sally, gave me the book in an ambitious attempt to get me cooking with some degree of competence.
Amongst the delicious recipes for roasts and pasta and salads and chicken and so forth I came across this recipe for brown bread. And it set me on a course of discovery in the world of baking.
Because the Irish soda bread turned out extremely well and is easy to make it has become a staple in our kitchen.
But there was also a white loaf recipe in the book, and I had a go at that. And it turned out superbly too and is incredibly popular in our house, even though it is just a simple, white loaf. I guess it tastes delicious when you compare it to the sliced pan you will encounter in the shops or sandwich places.
And then I made the step to sourdough and entered that world. That started with Neven’s one sourdough bread recipe in his book and led on to YouTube videos, other baking books and a world of continually trying to improve the bread.
But this brown bread, the Irish soda bread, is superbly reliable, consistent, and easy to bake. And my breakfast is never quite the same if I don’t have any.
The funny thing now is when we are out staying in a nice hotel, we will always compare the brown bread with my own. And my own, Sally claims, is as good as any of them.
That’s good enough for me.