Hey, everyone! It’s Macey here – Karen’s daughter-in-law and ½ of The Farm on Federal. Last year, my husband, Mitchell, and I bought 15 acres in East Tennessee, and we are venturing into full-time regenerative farming. We love food and especially knowing where our food comes from, the life it has lived, and that the ingredients that we use to make our meals in our home are clean and promote optimal health. (I’m sharing my sourdough Irish soda bread recipe below, so be sure to scroll down to get it! Karen’s Irish beef stew recipe is there too!)
We also love any chance to fellowship and share a meal with a loved one, friend, or neighbor. Celebrating holidays, even “small ones,” is a great opportunity for showing hospitality, whatever that looks like for you in your season of life. Being hospitable is not just a fun suggestion. It’s a command from the Lord. Romans 12:13, says, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (NIV). (Psst! If you’re having a difficult time with hospitality ideas, I would highly recommend purchasing Karen’s book, Make Their Day. It is chock full of great hospitality ideas, especially if you don’t know where to begin!) Just remember – it says to “practice” hospitality in the book of Romans. Don’t worry about perfection; just listen for the Holy Spirit’s prompting and be obedient!
Speaking of celebrating holidays, Saint Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favorite “small” holidays, if not my very favorite. I grew up in a tiny town in rural south Georgia, and I attended school in a neighboring city – Dublin. So many of my favorite memories were made in Dublin with my best friends Megan and Alicia. At the top of that list of favorite memories are the ones where I spent time with loved ones during the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities. From the Leprechaun Road Race to green lemonade at the local Chick-Fil-A to the used book sale at the library to the Saint Patrick’s Day parade – my hometown of Dublin goes all out, all March long, literally. There are festivities scheduled for every single day of March, reminding me of a Hallmark movie or perhaps an Irish version of Stars Hollow.
A look at the history of Dublin, Georgia shows why this small town is bursting to the brim with pride for its roots. According to the website for Laurens County, Georgia (n.d.), an Irish immigrant named Jonathan Sawyer donated the land in 1811 with the caveat that the town must be named after his wife’s hometown of Dublin, Ireland. The officials agreed to his condition, and Dublin, Georgia, was born. Speaking of “roots,” a recent Christmas gift that I received from my husband that assesses DNA and tells you your genealogy yielded some interesting results. Apparently, my love for all things Irish is not only rooted in my love for my hometown but also in the fact that I am of Irish heritage! Erin Go Bragh!
After exploring my ancestry more in-depth, I decided to combine my love for genealogy with my love for food. Ever since that wonderful Christmas gift, I’ve been experimenting with recipes native to my cultural heritage, and a recent favorite in our household is Sourdough Irish Soda Bread. This bread can be eaten with soups and stews, or you can top it with butter and jam (or our favorite – pumpkin spice creamed honey from our neighbors at The Appalachian Bee Farm). It also makes a phenomenal avocado toast topped with pesto, cream cheese, avocado, and two fried eggs. Now that your mouth is watering, let’s get to baking!
(NOTE: If you don’t make your own starter from scratch, you can purchase some here that will get you started and keep you going for many loaves! Or, if you want to know how to make your own, click here.)
Sourdough Irish Soda Bread
Prep Time – 15 minutes
Cook Time – 40 minutes
1 cup unfed sourdough starter discard
½ cup buttermilk
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
- Preheat the oven and your dutch oven to 400F.
- Whisk together your starter, egg, butter, and buttermilk. If you do not have buttermilk on hand, you can make buttermilk by mixing ½ cup milk with 1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or lemon juice and allowing it to sit on your countertop for about 10 minutes or until it curdles. Make sure to make a little extra to brush on your bread right before baking.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients in a stand mixer. Mix on low for a couple of minutes until the dough forms. If your dough is too dry, add more buttermilk. If your dough is too sticky, add some more flour. Form the dough into a ball.
- Use gloves and remove the dutch oven. Line the dutch oven with parchment paper. Place the ball of dough in the center.
- Score the top of the dough with an “X” making sure that you cut at least ? of the way through the dough.
- Brush the top of the dough with buttermilk.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting.
- Enjoy with your favorite toppings!
It has been so fun to celebrate all of the church holidays with my family (for fun celebration ideas check out my favorite resource here). We love any occasion to make amazing food and to have fellowship around our kitchen table with friends and neighbors. This Saint Patrick’s Day, I challenge you to make your favorite Irish dish (perhaps this soda bread and Karen’s famous oven Irish stew) and to share that dish with a loved one or neighbor.