I have just made this soda bread and am writing this post to keep me from eating it before tea-time! After one slice it’s difficult not to eat any more.
This Irish soda bread is great when you want bread in a hurry – it’s quick to prepare (“fierce easy” in irish speak) needs only a few ingredients and only half an hour in the oven. It’s gorgeous eaten fresh from the oven, but can also be frozen for several weeks if that suits you better. Eat plain, with butter, with butter and jam, toasted, with soup, with stew to mop up the gravy…..
This recipe uses wholemeal flour and oats to give it a roughness, but it can be made with just plain flour if preferred.
250g plain white flour (about 2 cups)
250g wholemeal flour (about 2 cups)
100g porridge oats (1 full cup)
1tsp bicarb soda
400ml buttermilk or mixture of milk + natural yoghurt with 2tsps of lemon juice
How to – Heat oven to 180°C and dust a baking sheet with flour. Thoroughly mix the flours, oats, soda and salt together in a big bowl with plenty of stirring room. Rub in the butter and make a well in the center, then pour in about 3/4 of the buttermilk and incorporate quickly, but gently, using a table knife. I like a slightly gloopy, sticky dough. The chemical reaction of the bicarb with the buttermilk starts as soon as they meet, and you want to get the bread into the oven while the reaction is still running on “high” so don’t dally too much. Add more buttermilk if the dough is dry and incorporate as before. Sprinkle a little flour over the top and onto your hands then lift the gloopy dough out of the bowl and pat into a ball – there is no need to knead, just pat! There is a whole range of “gloopyness” for soda bread dough where all produce perfectly good results so don’t panic. Plop the dough onto the floured baking tray, flatten slightly, shape and sprinkle a little flour over the ball. Now, using the long handle of a wooden spoon, press down on the bread like you are cutting it in half – do this in both directions making dents resembling a cross.
Bake at 180°c for 30-35 mins until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped or a skewer comes out clean. If it’s not hollow, leave it another 5 mins.
Place on a cooling rack and leave to cool.
Don’t think this loaf will last long!