Widely acknowledged as the finest baker in Ireland, North or South, Santa Monica resident John Blanchette attained Robert Ditty’s prize-winning soda bread recipe when he visited his shop last year, Robert Ditty’s Home Bakery, located in the village of Castledown in Derry-Londonderry, just outside of Belfast.
Blanchette said he was in awe, tasting it as it came steaming from his oven and slathered with sweet Irish butter.
“I complimented him and asked for the recipe, which he graciously wrote down and gave to me,” Blanchette said. “Now you can serve the best Irish soda bread in the world to complement your corned beef and cabbage (an Irish-American tradition) this St. Patrick’s Day weekend.”
Robert Ditty’s Irish Soda Bread Recipe:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2) Sift together:
• four cups white flour
• one teaspoon baking soda
• one teaspoon baking powder
• one teaspoon salt
• two tablespoons sugar
3) Add two cups of buttermilk
4) Currants, raisins or other dried fruit are optional
5) Knead for two minutes on lightly floured board
6) Shape into a round loaf
7) Place on a well-buttered, eight-inch pie pan and cut a cross along the top.
8) Bake 35-40 minutes.
9) Enjoy warm with butter (Irish if you can find it).