The great advantage of this bread is that it is so easy and quick to make, as it doesn’t require kneading or a long proving period. It is an ideal loaf for a novice bread maker to start with.
- 1 lb of plain white flour or for a brown load ¼ lb brown flour + ¾ lb white flour
- 1 tsp of baking soda or baking powder
- 1 tsp of salt
- 450 ml of buttermilk
How to make Soda Bread
Sift the flour, salt and raising agent. Pour in the buttermilk and mix to a sticky dough. Turn out on to a floured board and shape the dough into a round. Place on a buttered and floured baking tray and cook in a pre-heated oven at 220 C for 10 mins then turn down to 180 C for 35 mins until golden brown. Test it is cooked either by sticking a knife into the bread, it should come out clean or by tapping the base which should have a hollow sound like a drum.
Soda bread is very forgiving. It can be adapted to what is in the store cupboard, so if you only have 1 carton of buttermilk and wish to make two loaves it can be mixed half and half with milk or if buttermilk isn’t available then milk with a squeeze of lemon juice can be used or even yogurt or sour milk.
It can also be baked in a bread tin and if left to raise for 15 mins in a warm place, it can be used as a loaf for sandwiches.
Soda bread has long been associated with Ireland. Apparently it became popular in the 19th Century because yeast which was not always readily available, was not necessary. The lightness of the bread is due to the chemical reaction between the baking soda and the acid in the sour milk. For more information on the history of soda bread see http://www.sodabread.info.