How To Make Irish Soda Bread
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How To Make Irish Soda Bread

A quick bread recipe to get you through the week

It might not be 2020 anymore, but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped making bread. The latest fad to have caught the eye of home bakers is Irish soda bread – here’s how to make it.

What Is Irish Soda Bread?

Created in Ireland in the 1830s, Irish soda bread is an alternative bread recipe that uses baking soda and buttermilk (aka, soured milk) instead of yeast to get its signature rise and texture. The recipe was introduced during a time of particular financial strife in Ireland, with households looking for ways to make the most of basic and inexpensive ingredients – in this case, wheat flour, baking soda, salt and soured milk.

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What Does It Taste Like?

Well, like bread. Irish soda bread is known for its dense yet soft texture and crusty exterior. The crust is initially crisp when freshly baked and becomes slightly chewy on subsequent days. While some variations may include sugar for a hint of sweetness, the bread is not overly sweet and pairs well with savoury dishes like stew or can be enjoyed with butter, jam or cheese.

How Is It Made?

The key ingredients typically include buttermilk, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter. The process of making Irish Soda Bread involves mixing the wet and dry ingredients together, cutting cold butter into the flour mixture, shaping the dough into a round loaf, scoring the top and baking until golden brown.

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Soda Bread vs Wheaten Bread

The two terms are typically used interchangeably on the internet, but there is a small difference. Soda bread is made using wholemeal, white flour, or both. In Ulster, the wholemeal variety is usually known as wheaten bread and is normally sweetened, while the term ‘soda bread’ is used for the white savoury version.

Recipe: Irish Soda Bread

Makes one loaf

Ingredients

  • 400g plain flour (wholemeal, white or a combination of the two)
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 400ml buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200° Celsius.
  2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, set aside.
  3. Soft your dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the buttermilk.
  4. Gently stir the ingredients together using a spoon or spatula – making sure not to mix too harshly – until the mixture starts to come together. Switch to using your hands to shape it into a soft dough.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl and gently knead it on well-floured surface, until it is shaped in a loose ball.
  6. Place the ball of dough onto your lined baking tray, and press the dough down gently to flatten it slightly. Score a cross on the top of the bread dough.
  7. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the Irish soda bread loaf to cool for another 30 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Featured image: Mike Kenneally, Unsplash