Soda bread is a quick bread traditionally made in Northern England, Scotland and Ireland. It is very quick and simple to make. This is the basic recipe, but a variety of sweet and savoury ingredients, such has raisins, chocolate, or parmesan cheese and cubes of fried bacon, can be added to it. Baking soda is used as a rising agent instead of the more common yeast. The buttermilk in the dough reacts with the baking soda to make the bread rise. The deep cross in the loaf is supposed to let out the fairies - so that the bread won't be jinxed by evil spirits!
- 250g plain wholemeal flour
- 250gplain white flour
- 25g butter, cut into pieces
- 450ml buttermilk
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp salt
- Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F
- In a large bowl, mix together the two types of flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
- Now rub the butter into the dry mixture, until you get a bit of a crumb.
- Add the buttermilk and mix until you get a sticky dough.
- Lightly flour a work surface and tip the dough onto it.
- Gently roll and fold the dough a couple of times to bring the mixture together and shape the dough into a ball.
- Do not knead it!
- Place onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment, and flatten the ball gently with your hand.
- Score the dough with a deep cross dividing it into quarters and dust the bread with flour.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 200C/400F/Gas 6. The loaf should be golden-brown.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- This is best eaten on the day of baking, but is still good next day.