Soda breads are aptly named because the levening agent used in them is baking soda, rather than yeast.
Unlike most bread, there is little kneading and because there is no yeast, no rising is necessary. The whole thing can be made and baked in about 45 minutes (largely unattended). So sit back, relax, and make some soda bread.
Irish Soda Bread
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (may replace with all purpose flour)
- 1 & 3/4 cup of whole buttermilk
- 1 tsp of coarse salt
- 1 tsp of baking soda
Buttermilk is a key ingredient to Irish Soda Bread. You cannot replace it with regular milk. The buttermilk helps make the bread soft and crumbly.
Step 1: Sift together flours, salt and baking soda in a large bowl
Step 2: Add most of the buttermilk
Step 3: Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. The dough will be coarse and shaggy. If its too dry to come together, then add the rest of the buttermilk
Step 4: Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead for a minute or two. Shape the dough into a boule and flatten slightly so that in forms a 6 inch round. As is tradition with Irish Soda Bread, use a sharp serrated knife to score a cross in the center.
Step 5: Brush the top lightly with oil and place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on the bread and if towards the end of the baking time it's getting too brown on top, tent it with some foil. The bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
This bread is best served warm. Its got a lovely crumbly interior. Spread some jam on a slice and you've got the perfect breakfast treat.
So the next time you are having a lazy morning, whip up a loaf of Irish Soda Bread. You'll be glad you did!