The first time I had Irish soda bread was as a 4th year medical student at Mott Children’s Hospital on a dreary Saturday morning in March. I was on my sub-internship in pediatrics. I’d been up all night with really sick kids, completely over my head, running scut work to (hopefully) help the busy pediatric residents and fellows while managing my very small panel of relatively simple patients.
I was at the end medical school, months from being a pediatric intern myself. The more I learned, the more I realized I didn’t know. There was so much to know. I was begging the morning to come while subsisting on hospital-issue saltines, peanut butter, and coffee.
The morning came, and so did our attending physician, a wonderful pediatric rheumatologist with a basket full of hot bread, triple citrus marmalade, and orange juice. She was like a personification of Mrs. Beaver from C.S. Lewis and her bread was pretty much heaven.
All my anxieties of the night before melted away. We had done our jobs well, the children were all well cared for. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still had three more years of pediatric residency ahead of me. Three more years of 80 hour weeks to learn about children before I’d be truly alone and caring for patients on my own. Until then, I’d be guided carefully by calm and confident attendings, like Barbara Adams. I wasn’t alone.
Many years later, I was baking through my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook and made Irish soda bread for the first time. I was instantly transported back to that post-call morning and Dr. Adam’s heavenly bread.
Irish soda bread is a “quick bread”, meaning it uses baking powder and soda to raise, rather than yeast, and doesn’t need extra time to rise. It comes together in a similar fashion to scones.
This version is a touch sweet with the addition of golden raisins. I think this is technically called “Spotted Dog”, but that’s just a bit odd, so we’ll stick with Irish soda bread.
Regardless of technicalities…Irish Soda Bread or Spotted Dog…this warm loaf goes well with marmalade and tea. (Gray Michigan March and post-call pediatric residents are optional.) Enjoy!
This dairy-free and egg-free Irish soda bread is a slightly sweet quick bread that comes together in snap.
- Preheat oven to 375 and get some boiling water on the raisins.
- In a food processor, add the dry ingredients to the bowl and pulse to mix. Then add the margarine and pulse until mixed well. (This can also be done by hand in a large mixing bowl with a pastry cutter).
- Dump the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the drained raisins, stir into the flour mixture, and then the thickened dairy-free milk. Blend carefully.
- Dump the dough on to a parchment-line baking sheet, or cast iron skillet. Shape into a mound, slash with an “X” in the top.
- Sprinkle with sugar, unless you’re feeling like a mean mom.
- Bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown on top, and an inserted knife comes out clean.
- Cool and enjoy! This is best on the first day, but still great toasted with marmalade on day 2.
I’ve fallen in love with Country Crock Plant Butter sticks, the olive oil variety is my favorite.
You can make a savory variety, by cutting out the sugar, and using fresh herbs like thyme, dill, parsley with a sprinkling of salt on top.
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Irish
Keywords: irish soda bread, spotted dog, vegan irish soda bread
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