Soda bread is Ireland's most famous loaf and is made with two of the oldest foods, wheat and buttermilk.
It’s comforting and sustaining bread, and is so quick and easy to make. No kneading is necessary and no prove is required. The acid in the buttermilk does all the work, reacting with the bicarbonate of soda to create the rise. You just whack it straight in the oven! Simples.
Soda bread is best eaten on the day it’s made, ideally while just warm and spread with salty butter. It’s wonderful with a hearty winter soup. And the next day it makes great toast.
340g strong white flour
340g plain wholemeal flour
45g soft butter
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp cracked black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. Put the two flours, bicarbonate of soda, salt and pepper into a large bowl and mix well with your fingers.
3. Add the butter and incorporate into the flour mix.
4. Make a well in the middle. Pour in the buttermilk and stir. Then use your hands to bring everything together into a soft sticky dough.
5. Transfer the dough onto a greased baking sheet on a baking tray and shape into a loaf. Work quickly because the buttermilk begins to react with the bicarbonate of soda. Dust with a little white flour.
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a golden crust forms. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the base.
6. Cool on a wire rack if you want a crunchy crust. Wrap in a clean tea towel for a soft crust.