Irish Soda Bread
Soda bread has been an Irish household staple since baking soda became commercially available in the early 19th century. It uses just four ingredients that most people kept on hand: flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk (raisins and caraway seeds are an American addition). A real soda bread is a simple loaf with a beautifully browned, craggy crust and a nice chew, best eaten liberally smeared with salty Irish butter.
Yields 1 large loaf
To learn more, read the article:
How to Make Real Irish Soda Bread
1 lb. (3-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups buttermilk
Position a rack in the center of the oven and cook’s tip heat the oven to 450°F. Lightly flour a large rimmed baking sheet.
Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large, wide mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in 1-1/2 cups of the buttermilk. Stir with one hand, fingers apart, moving in circles to incorporate the buttermilk into the dry ingredients. If necessary, add more buttermilk 1 Tbs. at a time until the dough just barely comes together. (The absorption rate varies depending on the brand of flour.) The dough should be soft—don’t overwork it.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat into a round about 6-3/4 inches in diameter and 1-1/2 inches high in the center. Invert the round so the floured side is on top. With a thin, sharp knife, score a cross on the dough about 1/4 inch deep and extending fully from one side to the other.
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F and bake until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, another 20 to 30 minutes.
Cool to room temperature on a rack, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.
Though it's not traditionally Irish, you can add 3 oz. raisins with the dry ingredients, or experiment with add-ins like freshly chopped herbs, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, or chocolate chips.
nutrition information (per serving):
photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 121
, pp. 30-31
December 19, 2012