This is a really magic bread that was eaten all over Ireland as the staple bread food – it really is very good for you. I’ve been
making these for the last week for folk as St Patrick’s Day gifts so thought I should post the recipe here.
Wot u need
225g plain wholemeal flour/strong wholemeal flour
90g plain flour
1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 flat tsp salt
Approx 225mls buttermilk (one standard cartons)
Wot u do
Seive the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the buttermilk. Mix with a spoon until the milk is mixed in then tip out onto a floured work surface. Kneed for three minutes max (the buttermilk and bicarb react quickly and therefore don’t require much kneading.) Shape into a round and pat down till you get a stepping stone type shape about 4cms high all over (make sure sides are nice and steep for a nicer shaped loaf.) Cut a cross into the top of the bread all the way over and very deep (this is supposed to ward of evil!) Place onto a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven (180 degrees c / 160 degree c fan assisted) for between 32 and 37 minutes. The soda bread is ready when the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Serve with butter, eat with soup or, as a treat, eat with smoked salmon. Serves 4.
1. Strong wholemeal flour results in a “fuller” soda bread – I prefer this.
2. Make sure you sieve the bicarbonate of soda otherwise small lumps will show up burned and brown in the finished loaf.
3. If you like a hard crust then cool on a rack uncovered otherwise wrap in a tea towel till cooled.
4. Double the quantities for a bread that serves eight – DO NOT double the bicarbonate of soda.
5. If your flour needs more buttermilk than you have then make up with semi-skimmed milk.
6. Always use a really sharp knife to cut the cross into the bread – a serrated bread life won’t do. A simple chef’s knife will create a nice cut in the crumb.
7. Don’t know why, but leaving the sieved ingredients in a covered bowl for a few hours makes a fuller loaf!