Irish Soda Bread and Saint Finbar
Makes no difference if you are Irish or not, this bread will add great taste to your table.
Today the church celebrates the feast day of Saint Finbar. He was born in Connaught Ireland and was baptized Lochan.
He was educated by the Monks in Kilkenny. They called him Fionnbharr or Barr meaning white head because his hair was so light.
After his education he lived as a hermit on an island called Loch Irce. It is now known as Gougane Barra in Scotland.
He settled in a place called White Marsh, now known as the City of Cork where he spent the last 15 years of his life teaching the monks and students. This was a important place of study. This is where the term lonad Bairre Sgoil na Mumhan meaning Where Finbar taught let Munster learn. To this day that is the motto of the University of Cork.
It is believed that he built many small churches in his travels, including the one in Cork called Cell na Cluaine. The church and monastery he founded in 606 was built on a cliff above the River Lee. The legend goes that an angel lead him to the cliff where he would build the church and Monastery in Cork.
This is where he became Bishop and where he died. His body is buried on the grounds and the church is now called Saint Fin Barr’s Cathedral.
Today on the menu is Irish Soda Bread in his honor.
There is a old wives tale, when you make soda bread you must slash the top of your bread to let the fairies out or the devil in.
Fairies are good, we will go with that.
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Stir the flour, salt, baking soda and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add your egg and buttermilk. Mix until flour is combined and the dough is sticky. Add the raisins.
Turn the dough out on a well floured surface and knead until soft. Pat it into a round and put it in your skillet. Slash a cross in the top to bless your loaf.
Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375 and bake another 30 minutes. It should be done when you tap the top of the loaf and it sounds hollow.
This bread should be eaten the same day it is made.
Peace be with you,