Kerry Treacle Bread

This recipe was described to me by Mrs. McGillycuddy from Glencar in Co. Kerry,

who still makes it occasionally. A richer treacle bread, closer to gingerbread, was and still is widely made in Ulster.

  • 1–2 tablespoons (1 1/4 – 2 1/2 American tablespoons) treacle
  • 1 egg (optional), free-range if possible
  • 300ml (10fl oz/1 1/4 cups) approx, sour milk or buttermilk to mix
  • 450g (1lb/4 cups) white flour, preferably unbleached
  • 1 level teaspoon (1/2 American teaspoon) salt
  • 1 level teaspoon (1/2 American teaspoons) bread soda (bicarbonate of soda)

First fully preheat your oven to 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8.

Heat the treacle until it begins to run. Whisk the egg, if you are using it, add to the treacle and mix well. Then add the buttermilk.

Sieve the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre. Pour in most of the liquid all at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more liquid if necessary. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky. When it comes together, turn it out on to a floured board. Tidy it up and flip over the edges with a floured hand. Pat the dough into a round about 2.5cm (1 inch) deep and cut a cross on it. The cuts should go over the sides of the bread. Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes or until cooked.

If you are in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread, it will sound hollow if cooked. Cool on a wire rack.

Download the Kerry Treacle Bread recipe as a PDF.