Irish Soda Bread
Ever get a real goo for some homemade Irish Soda Bread, you know the type that your Granny used to bake?
My Granny Smith used to whip up the most amazing soda bread in minutes. The smell of it baking in the Aga stove, its golden crust when it was baked. And it was always baked to perfection! She could rustle a bread up with her eyes closed and there was no such thing as measuring using weighing scales. Not at all. It was a cup of this and a pinch of that. Fantastic! I miss her and wish I had asked her to show me more.
It’ll take me many tries to perfect my Irish Soda Bread technique. And many years after to bake it like my Granny did, but practice makes perfect, or so they say.
If you’d like to give baking your own Irish Soda Bread at home, here’s a simple recipe and a couple of tips to help make it scrumptious:
Irish Soda Bread Recipe
- 450g of Plain White Flour
- One level teaspoon of Bread Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
- A level teaspoon of Salt (this is optional)
- 325ml of Buttermilk (but have some to spare should you need it)
1. Preheat the oven to 450°f / 230°c / Gas Mark 8
2. In a bowl add the flour, bread soda and salt. Sifting the flour is recommended, but I don’t remember my Granny doing it.
3. When the oven is hot enough get the buttermilk ready.
4. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk.
5. With your fingertips bring the flour from the sides of the bowl and begin to mould your dough.
6. Don’t kneed the dough, try be as light-fingered as possible.
7. When the dough comes together, take it from the bowl and dust with flour. With a big knife cut an + in the bread to help it bake evenly or let the fairies out … you choose!
8. Add a little flour to a flat baking tray and place your dough in the middle.
9. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 10 mins on this high heat.
10. Lower the heat to approx 400°f /200°c / Gas Mark 6 after 10 mins and bake for an additional 30/35 minutes or until done.
- If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge you can use sour milk instead. To make fresh milk sour – add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the milk and it should turn sour after 15 minutes or so. However I would recommend buying some buttermilk before you try this recipe as it does make the bread taste better.
- It is important that the oven is preheated so don’t start until it is nearly hot enough. The bread soda begins to activate as soon as the buttermilk is added so this part of getting the dough together should only take a few minutes. The quicker it’s from the bowl into the oven the better!
- To know if the bread is done, take it out of the oven, turn it over and tap the bottom of it – if it sounds hollow it’s ready!
- Sometimes the crust can become too hard so to prevent this my Granny wrapped the bread in a tea-towel as soon as it came out of the oven! This is what I do now and it makes such a difference.
- If by chance (and it’s a slim chance at that) you have a slice left over that has gone a little bit stale – butter it and fry in a pan along with your ‘Sunday Morning Fry Up’. We all need comfort food from time to time and this should do the trick.
- You can add sultana’s to the mix if you fancy a change … yum!
*this recipe was first published in 2013 but has since been updated with new imagery. Enjoy!
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