Daily Schedule

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Small Beauties

Today we read another immigration story. Small Beauties is a gorgeous picture book that recounts the immigration of the Irish to escape the great potato famine. This book really captured the students' hearts and imaginations, and there were many questions, like, "But why did the people burn their house?", "Why couldn't Grandma and Grandpa come with them?", and "Now that they are in America, who will take care of them?" Lots to think about. I'm willing to bet they will want to hear it again, just as a way to process it.

After reading the book and talking a bit, we went to make an immigration recipe. This one was Irish soda bread, and it was another hit. Soda bread, I've read, became a popular hearth bread in Ireland in the mid-18th century when baking soda became available as a leavener. It is best served warm, and the children really loved it slathered in strawberry jelly.

Makes 1 loaf


  • Cake flour -- 3 cups
  • All-purpose flour -- 1 cup
  • Baking soda -- 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Salt -- 1 teaspoon
  • Buttermilk -- 1 1/2 cups


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. Stir the buttermilk into the flour with a wooden spoon to form a raggedy dough. Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead gently just until the dough comes together. The dough will be sticky. Do not overknead or your bread will be tough.
  3. Form the dough into a domed loaf and place it on a lightly floured baking sheet. Cut an X in the top with a serrated knife. Set in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to 400°F and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the loaf is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve slices warm with butter, jam or jelly.

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