I decided that my post for St. Patrick’s Day would be Irish Soda bread, seems fitting right? That lead me to do some research for real authentic soda bread. I knew that real soda bread is plain, that the stuff sold in grocery stores probably wasn’t the real thing, but never thought much about it. My search lead me here Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread no really, there is a such thing! This is where I got this recipe.
I learned from this site that soda bread is a true peasant bread. Soda bread was first made in 19th century Ireland, with the introduction of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). Ireland was a very poor country and this was an everyday type of bread, things like grated orange zest and raisins were just not used in this bread, that would have been too exotic and too expensive, those types of ingredients were reserved for special times like Christmas and would be put in puddings (steamed cakes) but not soda bread.
This is a bland bread, certainly not a taste sensation. It is great to sop up gravy or dip in stew. I served mine with bangers and mash, it was great to soak up the gravy. I used some leftover bread and toasted it, slathering with butter and homemade jam! Good stuff!
Now that we have all of that worked out, lets make some.
Here is what you need, just 4 ingredients. If you can get soft wheat flour like White Lily, or other southern flour, use that, it is the closest to real Irish flour that we have, but regular everyday all purpose white flour will work just fine.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Now add the buttermilk, stirring to combine into a soft shaggy dough.
Pour it out onto a floured surface.
And gather it up into a ball. Use a light hand here, you don’t want to work the dough, just bring it together into a nice ball.
Now place on a lightly greased baking sheet or one lined with parchment. Traditionally this is baked in a dutch oven, but this method works fine too. Once the dough is placed on the baking pan, pat it down slightly to make a nice thick disc shape. Cut a deep x in the top of the dough, this will allow it to rise and create that signature soda bread look.
Place into the 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until nice and golden brown all over and sounds hollow if tapped on the bottom. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack. Avoid slicing it when it is too warm, or it could end up gummy.
Look at that, rustic perfection (oxymoron?)
Soda bread, who would have thunk it, so easy!
- 4 cups all purpose flour (soft wheat like White Lily works well)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 14 oz. buttermilk