So it’s St.Patrick’s day next week and I couldn’t help but share this traditional Irish soda bread with you, well I wouldn’t be a very good Irish girl if I didn’t share it now would I! This is the bread I grew up with in Ireland, it’s also the bread my daughter is growing up with, we are keeping the tradition going 😉 Everyone in my house loves this bread and I have to make it at least once a week, it goes into school lunch boxes, it’s an after school snack and it is my favorite bread to accompany soup. I don’t mess around with the recipe it is loved and cherished the way it is. Soda bread is so easy to make even if you are a beginner.
I don’t usually put any sugar in my bread but some traditional recipes do call for anything from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of honey, so it’s up you if you want to add it. Other traditional recipes call for an egg, I’ve never put an egg in mine and I don’t plan on starting now, but if you want a more crumbly cake like bread then add an egg to the buttermilk before you add it to the flour mix. When it comes to the salt I like to keep it to just a pinch, some recipes call for a teaspoon, again up to you but I really don’t see the need for it. There is no kneading of the dough for this recipe, the less you handle the bread the better, if you knead it it will come out tough, it should be nice and light and a little crumbly.
If you can’t find buttermilk (I find it hard here in Ely for some reason), check out the recipe below to find out how to sour your milk. Actually sour milk was often used to make soda bread back in the day, a handy way to use it up, waste not want not right? I never seem to have milk long enough for it to go sour! If you prefer a 100% whole grain soda bread check out my Irish Soda Bread with Spelt. This traditional Irish soda bread will keep, once wrapped, for a couple of days in your bread bin, ours never lasts that long! It’s amazing with Irish butter of course, and some raspberry jam, perfecet with Irish smoked slamon, or with some nice, strong Irish cheddar, relish and a cup of hot tea, ah I can feel the homesickness kicking in 🙁 Anyway, more Irish recipes coming next week x
- 250g plain wholemeal flour, plus more to flour the baking tray
- 200g plain white flour
- 340ml buttermilk
- 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
- A pinch of sea salt
- 50g of oats, plus more for sprinkling on top (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (I use a fan assisted electric oven please adjust according to your own)
- In a large mixing bowl add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, sea salt and oats if using, mix well.
- Add the buttermilk, I tend to add about half first, use your hand to mix all the ingredients together. Then add the rest of the buttermilk and mix again, the mixture should be a bit wet. If it is too wet add a little more wholemeal flour and if it is still too dry add a little more buttermilk.
- Sprinkle some wholemeal on a baking tray, turn out the bread mixture on the baking tray and then shape it into a round. Using the palm of your hand press the round down until it is about 2 and a half inches thick.
- Using a sharp knife cut a cross into the bread, then sprinkle some oats over the bread and bake at 200 degrees C for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes turn the heat down to 160 degrees C and bake for a further 25 to 30 minutes.
- To check the bread is cooked, turn it upside down and knock on the base, if you hear a hallow sound it's cooked.
- When cooked wrap the bread in a clean t-towel, this will help to keep the crust soft.
- Eat when cooled.