The addition of English culinary lavender, our “Signature Blend“, gives this Irish Soda bread a lovely delicate, floral note! The wonderful flavor combination of lavender, honey, and raisins delightfully enhances an old favorite comfort food of mine! I love baking, and the amazing delicious released aroma of fresh baked bread that fills my home! It always evokes memories of my childhood at age five, walking into my Grandfather’s bakery in Juneau, Alaska selecting fresh baked breads and pastries! Awww…such heavenly aroma & flavor!! I wonder if my Grandfather ever baked with culinary lavender? Lavender has been used in cooking for centuries.
There are two varieties that we grow and use for culinary, one is English lavender known as, Lavandula angustifolia, also known as the True Lavender, and L. X-intermedia, Provence, a hybrid. In this recipe I’ve used English lavender, our Signature Blend, because it has low camphor content, and lends a more delicate floral note to culinary dishes. Provence has more camphor content, and lends a more bold, savory herb flavor, which I like in Focaccia Breads, herb breads, and meat dishes. Maybe you’ll consider planting a few cultivars of culinary lavender in your herb garden this spring. A delicious edible flower, and a perennial too! (If Provence culinary lavender is all you have, just use 1 Tbsp)
IRISH SODA BREAD
3 1/2 cups flour (3 white – 1/2 whole wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons English culinary lavender
2 Tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup raisins (I added gobs, 1 1/2 cups; in this case, more is better)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Sift all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the egg and honey together in a small bowl or cup.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and add buttermilk, egg, honey, and raisins.
Mix together with a fork until flour is combined and the dough is sticky. If the dough looks too dry, add 1-2 Tablespoons more buttermilk until it begins to form a sticky dough. (do not over mix)
Turn out on a well floured surface and knead until soft, about 8 times.(Use extra flour if necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers. I like to use a spreader-spatula as I knead the dough, pulling more flour around the dough if it begins to stick)Again don’t over mix. Just like making biscuits, if you over mix, the dough becomes tough.
Pat dough into a round loaf, and put into your large cast iron skillet that has
“Cornmeal” sprinkled in the bottom. (you could also bake it on a cookie sheet)
Brush the top of the loaf with remaining small amount of egg/honey/buttermilk.
This helps the loaf have a rustic golden brown color.
Slash a cross like this X or # in the top with a sharp knife about 1/2′”deep, to bless your loaf 🙂
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, and then reduce the heat to 375 degrees, and bake another 25-30 minutes.
It should be done when you tap the top of the loaf with your finger, and it sounds hollow, “the thump test”!
This bread should be eaten the same day it is made, with gobs of butter, or my favorite Lavender butter, or molasses/butter blend drizzled on top of each slice. Ahhh…extremely delish!! Enjoy the flavor and the delightful aroma that fills your home & soul! Baking always has extreme therapeutic, healing powers that lifts my spirit, and brings a Smile! 🙂 Enjoy!
1/4 lb unsalted butter room temp
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dried culinary “Provence culinary lavender buds, finely
ground in a spice grinder
Place the butter, honey and lavender in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until just combined. Transfer to a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Roll into a 1-inch-wide log. Refrigerate or freeze. This butter makes a great compliment to breads, muffins, scones, and even sweet cornbread!
Recipe adapted from The Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley