Here we are a year into the new way of living. For us, that journey has meant a lot of homemade bread. When I do not have time to make sourdough, or I forgot to start the process of sourdough, I have a handful of faithful bread or bread-like recipes I can fall back on. This recipe for Irish Soda Bread happens to be one of them. This recipe is woven into a regular rotation between biscuit cravings and popovers, which usually happens when a bowl of soup or stew is also involved. Not to mention those weekend brunches at home that we have come to love.
What is Irish Soda Bread? In the United States, it is something completely different than what you would find on the tables in Ireland. More often than not, stateside, it is a somewhat sweet quickbread that is studded raisins as well as caraway seeds and usually has eggs and butter added. In Ireland, it is a basic table bread that is made with whole wheat or white flour as well as baking soda, buttermilk, and salt. No yeast, no eggs, and no butter. It is considered a poor man’s food and most likely fruits or nuts were not added as they were a luxury item.
When I was in my teens I had an Irish cookbook that I cooked from all the time. This soda bread is based on the recipe of my youth as well as the recipes most like what you would find on a table in Ireland. It comes together quickly using ingredients that are most likely in your pantry now.
No buttermilk? No problem as long as you have milk in the refrigerator. I mix whole milk with a little lemon juice and let it sit for 5 minutes, then I can make bread!
What makes this recipe so easy is that all you need to do is mix everything together in a bowl and then bake the bread. There is little to no-kneading involved. In fact, you want very little handling as the more you touch it, the tougher it will be.
Some say the cross on top dates back to the Catholic church and they even came it lets the devil out of the bread. I like to think it actually helps bake the bread more evenly by being able to reach the thickest part of the bread. Sometimes I make a cross and sometimes a swirl!
- Whisking the dry ingredients before adding the liquids tends to produce more of a uniform crumb as well it evenly distributes the baking soda.
- Oats are optional, I add as I like a bit more texture.
- Don’t be tempted to fully knead the bread as you would a yeast bread. Only touch the ingredients enough to mix and shape.
- Best eaten same day, but makes a lovely toast if you have leftovers.
- Mixing Bowl
- Baking Sheet
- Baking Scale – if measuring in grams
Recipe: Irish Soda Bread
** makes one small loaf, enough for 4 servings
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour – (150 grams)
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour – (150 grams)
1/3 cup rolled oats – (50 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda – (8 grams)
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk – (250 ml) or 1 1/4 (less 1 tablespoon) whole milk mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly flour a baking sheet with some all-purpose or whole wheat flour.
Mix the flours, oats, baking soda, and a pinch of salt together in a bowl with a whisk.
Using a fork lightly stir in the buttermilk until moistened, then use your hands just enough to bring the dough together.
Form into a ball and place onto the baking sheet.
Using a knife slash a cross into the top.
Baking 30 – 40 minutes; timing depends on how hot your oven cooks. My oven takes 35 minutes. To test doneness tap the top and if it sounds hollow it is done.
Remove from the oven, let cool for at least 15 minutes.
More Irish Recipes