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The Perfect Imperfection of Granny Bread [Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread Recipe]

by | Oct 3, 2020 | Journal | 0 comments

I want to share a recipe with you that was passed down to me from my husband’s older sister via her grandmother. It is for Irish soda bread, or, as we call it, Granny Bread.

You could break apart this recipe from an Ayurvedic perspective, as I was trained to do, and find that the wheat and buttermilk are too heavy in combination. That baking soda adds too much air for a vata-aggravated world, not to mention the fact that some believe baking soda is of chemical origin (it depends where you source it). But something magical happens when we combine the four simple ingredients. Granny Bread becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

What if I told you that, just like Granny Bread, you are perfect? Despite all the time you’ve spent counting your imperfections and tracing their origins, you have always been whole.

That’s right. You are perfect and there is nothing to fix. This is not in spite of, but because of, all the things you think are wrong with you.

Your body is a reflection of your spirit’s desire to have an experience. Sometimes it will be a good experience and sometimes it will be bad. But in this balance of shadow and light is a legend. To document this experience of your flesh, as we will do in BodyStory (we begin tomorrow), is to realize your divine origins.

Granny took a long journey from Ireland over wild seas. Not all of it was pleasant, but every experience shaped her character. Just like her, as you have journeyed over wild seas, out of six-foot-deep holes, or falls from the heavens, your skin, bones, and muscle have been documenting it all. When you open yourself up to this story, you will find a treasure.

I hope this recipe inspires you to not only bake something nourishing, but to recognize that you are complete, just as you are today.

Granny Bread (Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread)

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (plus more for kneading)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 cups cultured buttermilk (in a pinch, use 1/2 cup yogurt mixed with 1 1/2 cups water)

Heat a skillet (cast iron works best) over medium-high heat. Sprinkle a light dusting of flour on the skillet.

Mix together flour, soda, and salt until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk. Using your hands, gently stir the mixture until it is just incorporated. The batter will be sticky and very wet. Do not overmix!

Sprinkle about 1/4 cup or less of flour on a clean surface. Scoop one half of the batter out of the bowl. Gently knead the batter about three times (do not overknead! what you’re looking for is a barely uniform texture) and begin to pat it down in a large circle until it is about 1/2 inch in height.

Cut the circle into quarters (called farls) and when the flour on the skillet has begun to smoke, transfer the farls to the pan. Cook the first side for 5-7 minutes, or until it has begun to rise and begins to firm on the sides slightly. Flip and cook the other side for 5-7 minutes. Then, stack up the farls on their ends to cook each of the three edges for about 1-2 minutes.

When the first half of the batter is done, repeat with the remaining batter.

To serve, gently pry open a piece with a fork.

Video demonstration

I love this video (old nail polish on my fingernails and all) because I was taught this recipe by watching it done. In my opinion, seeing someone else do it is how we best demystify what seems to be a complicated process.


Are you ready to write your body’s story? Join us for BodyStory. We begin tomorrow at 4:30 PT.

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