Traditional Irish Soda Bread, 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 favourite bread to accompany soup.
250gplain wholemeal flourplus more to flour the baking tray
200gplain white flour
1level tsp bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of sea salt
50gof oatsplus 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 hollow 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.
Nutritional information is approximate and is calculated using an online nutrition tool.
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 to 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 it’s 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 the dough it will come out tough, it should be nice and light and a little crumbly.
If you can’t find buttermilk 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!
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, perfect with Irish smoked salmon, or with some nice, strong Irish cheddar, relish and a cup of hot tea.