Rua Café & Deli - Irish Bread Award 2020

This unusual bread is from the McMahon family’s Rua Café and Deli in Castlebar, Co Mayo, and it was originally a Gerry Galvin recipe. “As a chef, restaurateur and poet, Gerry was always an inspiration to us at Rua”, explains Aran McMahon, who runs the Rua businesses with his sister Colleen. “After his untimely passing in 2013, we decided to make a version of his delicious Dillisk Soda Bread, which we had remembered enjoying at a family meal in Drimcong many years before. We still make the bread every week and sell it at our shop on Spencer Street every Friday where it is much loved by our customers.” A classically trained chef with a love of Irish traditions and a curious, inventive mind, Gerry Galvin was always ahead of the curve; this recipe is an unusual hybrid of different baking techniques, and he was one of the earliest chefs to use seaweed in modern Irish cooking.  

RECIPE: Rua’s Dillisk Soda Bread
Makes one 2lb/900g loaf.

15g dried dillisk
4 eggs
50g sugar
60g melted butter
50 ml buttermilk
250g self raising flour
150g grated carrot
½ teaspoon of bread soda, sieved
Pinch of Achill Island Sea Salt (smoked)

Pre-heat a moderate oven, 160° C.

Soak the dillisk in water for 5 minutes, drain and squeeze dry. Check for any shells before finely chopping.

Whisk the eggs and sugar by hand in a mixing bowl. Next add the melted butter and buttermilk and whisk again until combined.

Add all of remaining ingredients and fold in lightly but thoroughly.

Put the mixture in a lined 2lb/900g loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven at 160º C for 45 minutes. Remove from the tin return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Allow to cool before slicing.

VARIATION: At Rua they also make a richer version of the dillisk loaf, with more butter but no bread soda or buttermilk: omit the bread soda and buttermilk, and increase the butter to 110g and the self raising flour to 250g. All other amounts remain the same.

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