I love soda bread. Who would have thought it could be so quick and easy to make a moist, crumbly, flavourful, good for you loaf.
Soda bread has its origins in Ireland, although it was also popular in Britain until the middle of the last century. I’m guessing it went out of favour as processed food became fashionable.
If you want a loaf of bread but can’t get to the shops, don’t have time to get the bread maker out or just want the satisfaction of putting a home baked loaf on the table, this recipe is for you. Leavened with baking soda, which is activated by the acid in the lemon juice, soda bread does all it rising in the oven and therefore does not require any proving. It’s simple a case of mixing everything together in a bowl then shaping the loaf and baking it. 50 or so minutes later your kitchen will smell gorgeous and you will be feeling pretty pleased with yourself.
Soda bread goes exceptionally well with a bowl of soup and is also gorgeous alongside smoked salmon, cheese and pickles, a bowl of hearty stew or a baked cauliflower cheese.
Soda bread is much denser than a loaf made with yeast and bread flour and is best eaten the day it is made, although leftovers are lovely toasted and spread with marmalade or jam for breakfast the next morning.
Irish Soda Bread
- 300-350 ml milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 375 g wholemeal Flour
- 125 g white Flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (sieved)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Flour for dusting
- Pre-heat the oven to 200⁰C.
- Stir the lemon juice into the milk and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl then add the honey and about 250ml of the milk mixture (which will look slightly lumpy – this is what you want). Stir together with a dinner knife until the dough comes together in a ball, adding more of the milk mixture if necessary.
- Form the dough into a dome shape – I find it easiest to do this within the bowl.
- Place the loaf onto a non-stick baking sheet, or baking paper dusted with flour. Dust the loaf with flour then cut a cross in its top using a large, very sharp, knife. Take care not to drag the dough as you do this. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour until the crust is golden and the loaf sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
- Soda bread is traditionally cooled covered with a damp cloth which softens the crust slightly, so feel free to give this a go if you wish.