Many people find home-made bread making a daunting task; and while it’s true that it can be an art form unto itself, the baking of bread in the everyday home needn’t be abandoned altogether. With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, the recipes of Ireland are on everyone’s mind, and none is more a staple than the classic Irish Soda Bread. The good news is that it is as easy to make as it is delicious, and lends itself perfectly to infinite variations for the creatively inclined. Pair it up with some butter and jam for a quick and easy breakfast or mid-afternoon snack, or warm up to St. Patty’s Day and serve alongside a cozy Lamb Stew for a perfect mid-week meal. However you like it, we promise that once you try this simple recipe you’ll be hooked on having fresh bread in your house on a regular basis!
Makes 1 loaf
- 4 cups (500g) plain white flour (or whole wheat if you prefer, either will work)
- 2 1/2 tsp. (12 mL) baking soda
- 1 tsp. (5 mL) sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups (350 mL) buttermilk or greek style yoghurt
- currants, seeds, fresh or dried herbs**
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift dry ingredients together into a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Mix together with a wooden spoon (or your hands) until a loose sticky dough is formed. If you are adding any extras** (currants, seeds, herbs, cheese, etc.) mix them in with the last few stirs of the spoon. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or countertop knead lightly for about a minute.
Form the dough into a loose ball – it will still be slightly sticky – and place onto a flour and parchment lined baking sheet. Dust the top of the loaf lightly with flour and pop into the oven immediately.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the top of the loaf is deep golden and there is a hollow sound when the loaf is tapped. Let the loaf cool slightly on a wire rack to keep the crust nice and crunchy.
Serve white still warm with plenty of good quality butter. Delicious with your favourite jams or along side some rich and comforting Irish stew!
**This recipe is lovely just on it’s own but lends itself well to endless variations. For a sweeter tea-style version, add in some dried currants or candied fruits. Like a more savoury style? Try some fresh rosemary and asiago cheese.