Flour. Baking Soda. Buttermilk.
There you go, that’s your Irish soda bread recipe.
Ok, so there MIGHT be a bit more to it than that, but seriously like, nothing a few practice runs won’t sort out. (Gluten Free flour works grand too, btw, just swap in a quality self raising kind for regular flour)
Here’s the science bit. I never took a science class in my life mind you, so perhaps this is a garbled science bit. Please keep that in mind.
Soda bread has no yeast (you may know that already), so it needs an alkaline raising agent (bread/baking soda) with an acidic liquid (buttermilk). Sour milk will also work, especially if you throw in some lemon juice too.
You’ll need strong plain flour – a mix of wholemeal and white is good, but either is fine – and it’s a general rule of about 1 rounded teaspoon of soda per 1lb of flour. Mix em well, and make sure the soda is fresh, not the tub that’s been sitting in your press for 5 years.
Sieve the dry stuff together in a big bowl, and then add the buttermilk slowly til you have a squishy consistency, then slop it out on the bench (flour the surface first so it doesn’t stick) and bash away at it til it’s kneaded through, a little elasticy in texture and dry to the touch.
(For a sweet loaf, add sugar and sultanas with the dry ingredients, even a little cinnamon.)
Then roll it into a smooth round ball, flatten the top and bottom a bit, and take a sharp knife to score a cross in the top, deepest in the middle section, lighter at the edges.
Stick it onto a flat tray, and into the oven (about gas 4 or 5). Check after half hour by sticking a sharp knife or skewer in the middle; if it’s not covered in dough then it’s definitely getting there. Take it out before it burns.
There ya go.
Leave to cool, some say leave overnight for a better flavour. I can never wait that long. Serve with real Irish butter, where available – definitely none of that plastic margarine shit anyway.