It’s no secret that I’m extremely fond of Ireland and for me there is no greater joy than to discover more and more about the Emerald Isle & its food culture. There are so many popular dishes that I want to bring to your attention, like Irish stew for instance, but the recipe that I’m sharing with you today is Irish soda bread or arán sóide in Irish. Although the use of soda to make bread wasn’t invented by the Irish, they have without a doubt made it their own, with the oldest reference to Irish soda bread dating back to 1836. Now why did soda bread become so popular on the island back in the days? Well, as Ireland has had it’s struggle with poverty, soda bread proved to be the perfect dish to make as it was both cheap and easy.
In 1850, the Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science published an article on the use of soda in the preparation of bread, around the time of the great potato crop failures that contributed towards the Great Irish Famine.
During the failure of the potato crop, a large quantity of bicarbonate of soda was employed by the poorer classes in the preparation of bread.
Soda bread is still incredibly popular in Ireland and I hope that this recipe will help spread this delicious bread even further. It was the very first time I’ve attempted to make my own Irish soda bread and I was very pleased with the result! It really is so easy, only a few ingredients are needed and it’s ready in less than an hour! The bread is delicious on its own but as I was tasting it, more and more ideas popped into my head of herbs and spices that I could add to this recipe! This recipe will be the perfect recipe to use as a base for you to adjust to your own liking, or to use as it is and serve it with some lovely soup in the for lunch or with some jams in the morning.
Makes: One medium sized bread
- 300ml buttermilk
- 350g all-purpose flour + 25g extra
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
Mix flour with salt and soda and preheat your oven to 190°C . Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Now use a wooden spoon and spoon some of the flour from the edge into the buttermilk, stir it quickly and then add some more flour from the edges until all the flower is mixed with the buttermilk.
Traditional soda bread is not kneaded so simply shape it into a nice round dough without overhandling it. The dough should be a bit sticky but if it’s too sticky, simply add some more flour until you can scrape it off the bottom of your mixing bowl. The dough will rise in the oven quite a bit so don’t worry if it’s looking a bit flat. Make a cross on the top, sprinkle just a bit of flour on top and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.
To check if it’s ready, simply tap the bottom of the bread. Does it sound hollow? Then you’re good to go! Let the bread cool before you slice it up.