White soda bread

White soda bread

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Makes
1

Irish soda bread is one of the specialties of Ireland, and is baked in countless farmhouses and homes all over the country. It is made in white and brown loaves and the Irish enjoy the taste of soda, which is used as the raising agent.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
900g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
250ml buttermilk or sour milk

Method

  1. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add buttermilk or sour milk in a steady pouring stream, working in flour with a large fork. The dough should be slack but not wet and the mixing done lightly and quickly. Add a little more milk if dough seems too stiff.
  2. With floured hands, put dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten into a round about 4 cm thick. Put onto a greased baking tray and cut a large cross on top with a floured knife. (This is to ensure even distribution of heat.)
  3. Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven 190°C for about 40 minutes. Test centre with a skewer before removing from oven. To keep bread soft, wrap in a clean dish towel.

Variations

  • Brown soda bread: Make as for white soda bread, using 600 g wholewheat flour and 300 g white flour. A little more milk will be needed to mix the dough. If a brittle texture is required, add 1 tablespoon melted butter. The bread should not be cut until it is quite cold. This takes 4–6 hours.

    Treacle soda bread: Make as for white soda bread, but heat 2 tablespoons black treacle with the milk, and add 1½ teaspoons sugar and 60 g sultanas, if liked, to the dough.

Note

  • If buttermilk or sour milk is not available, 250 ml fresh milk may be used, in which case add 1 teaspoon cream of tartar to the dry ingredients.
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