Simon and I share our house with our flatmate Sarah, who is from Ireland. She had a pang of homesickness the other week and was craving the comforts of home, so she wanted some Soda Bread. I’d never heard of Soda Bread before, but offered to make it for her and went about doing some research. I ended up shirking the responsibility of making it off onto Simon (I’ve been really lazy when it comes to baking lately) as he loves to make bread; so he gave this a go on the weekend, excitedly assisted by Sarah.
Soda bread is really quick and easy to make. We made ours using a ‘cake’ method, where you mix all the ingredients up and bake it in the oven. You can also make Soda Bread by making your dough, then cutting it into ‘farls’ (a word meaning ‘four parts’) and frying each segment until it is cooked through, then piecing all the farls together to get your round bread look. There isn’t any yeast in this bread, so you don’t need to wait around for it to prove either.
To me, Soda Bread is kind of like a massive scone. I ate my pieces simply buttered and with jam. However, in Ireland I think it is more a savoury thing – Sarah cooked up some eggs and ate them on the bread with HP sauce and I’ve also read about it being something you can serve with stew to soak up the gravy. It was pretty yum; we’ll be making some again and I think we will give some other Irish baking a go soon.
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl, stir the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add 1 cup of the buttermilk. Combine dry ingredients and buttermilk with a fork, gradually adding more of the remaining buttermilk until a soft dough is formed.
Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface for 1 minute. Form into a slightly flattened circle. Place the dough on the prepared tray. Mark a large 2cm deep ‘X’ with a sharp knife and bake the soda bread for 35-45 minutes. The bread is ready when it is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Once the bread is cooked, remove from the oven. To serve, but into segments, then cut the segments in half horizontally before topping with whatever you fancy.