Irish Soda Bread with Ramps

close up of wild ramps (leeks)
Here on the east coast of the United States, ramps (allium tricocca, or wild leeks) are in season. Ramps originated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, but they grow from there northward as far as Canada. A ramp is not the same plant as a ramson (allium ursinum, or bear's garlic); ramsons do not grow wild in the United States. Now that we have that out of the way, let's make some soda bread.
round of Irish Soda Bread dough with ramps
This recipe was largely inspired by Donal Skehan's recipe for Wild Garlic Irish Soda Bread. Since ramsons are not available to me here in the U.S., I substituted ramps. Although ramps are indeed wild leeks, they have a distinct garlic flavor that I knew would work well in this bread. The garlic flavor is so pronounced in fact that most people say you can "smell ramps before you see them". I've foraged for ramsons in Ireland and have found that to be true of them, too. Clearly, ramps and ramsons are closely related.
diptych of Irish Soda Bread made with Ramps and Wild Leeks (ramps)
To make this bread using ramps, simply follow Donal's recipe and substitute the ramsons with about five ramps.
Finished loaf of Irish Soda Bread with Ramps (wild leeks)
I'll be travelling to Ireland soon and am hoping there are a few ramsons left in the wild while I'm there. I'd love do some baking with them. In the meantime, I'm happy with the American counterpart—the ramp—and how it's transformed this bread. It's lovely toasted with some good Irish cheddar melted on top, but I think my next step may be to use it as a base for a savory bread pudding. You'll have to come back for that recipe! 

Come again! 

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