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February 3, 2018

How to Bake Your Own Irish Soda Bread

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.

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About the Author

Irish Author, Educator, and Guide to Ireland. Co-Founder of the Irish Pagan School, Eel & Otter Press, and Pagan Life Rites (Ireland).

Lora O'Brien

Join our Tuath (community, tribe) to get Course and Scholarship info, and regular (free) Irish resources on topics such as Mythology, History, Society, Spirituality, Storytelling and Travel directly from Lora O'Brien and the team at the Irish Pagan School.

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