Soda bread is to Ireland what a baguette is to the French. It has been made in Irish houses for generations and has that simplicity, home cooking comfort about it. If touring Ireland you will certainly come across it accompanying seafood chowders, warm soups and topped with wild smoked Irish salmon. And yet it is so simple and uncomplicated to make, I don’t know why I don’t make it daily. Well that’s actually a lie. I don’t make it daily because I have been known to stand eating slice after slice of warm soda bread laced with real butter until the entire loaf is gone. There are a couple of variations of soda bread, from plain loaf, wholemeal to fruit and soda scones. But the basic mixture of flour and buttermilk is the same. Ill be doing a few variations in the run up to St. Patrick’s day incase anyone wants to get Celtic. But today I’m starting with a wholemeal/ brown soda bread or brown bread as I knew it growing up. My mother brushed it with the buttermilk before it went in the oven so that it had a nice crunch on the outside. Also if you don’t have buttermilk, just use normal milk with a squeeze of lemon juice. Leave it to stand of a while till it turns.
- 300g wholemeal flour
- 150g plain flour
- 1 level teaspoon bicabonate soda
- 1 teaspoon castor sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 400ml buttermilk (or milk with lemon juice)
- 900g loaf tin optional
- Preheat your oven to 230˚C/ 450˚F/Gas 8
- Put all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Slowly add the buttermilk to give you a moist dough. You might not need all of it, depending on your flour. So don’t throw it all in. It should be moist but not but not runny.
- Mix with your hands into a round shape rather than kneading like a normal bread.
- If you are opting for the tin, place your dough in your greased and lined tin with a light brush of buttermilk. If you are opting for a round loaf with no tin. Place the dough on a lined baking sheet dusted with some flour. It should be a circular shape about 2-2½ inches thick. Score the top of the loaf to make an cross. Brush with buttermilk and bake in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes until the loaf is hallow when tapped underneath.
- Best served still warm with loads of butter and jam.