Traditional bread baked in Ireland is soda bread and not yeast bread. This is due in part to the fact that Irish flour is typically low in protein and thus more suited to soda bread as yeast bread needs a higher protein content.
This bread is so simple to make and is so lovely with a bowl of warm soup on an autumn or winter’s day. All it requires is a gentle touch when bringing the ingredients together.
Don’t add all of the buttermilk at once as you want to make sure to get the right consistency and can add more as needed. Use a knife to gently bring the dry ingredients together with the buttermilk. Once it has come together then turn the dough onto a floured board and kneed it gently just to the point it is smooth. This is very different from yeast bread and is something people do wrong when making soda bread for the first time.
I’m not really sure why the cross is cut into the middle but it certainly makes it easy to cut afterwards.
Once the bread has baked you can wrap it in a dry tea towel to keep a soft crust.
Irish Brown Soda Bread
- 350 g coarse wholewheat flour
- 250 g plain flour
- 1 tsp bread soda heaped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 450 ml buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6
- Combine the dry ingredients (both flours, salt and bread soda) and aerate
- Mix quickly (using a knife) until just moistened, adding buttermilk as needed for a wet consistency.
- Turn dough onto a floured board and knead until gently until it is smooth. Then round it up, making it about 4cm thick.
- Place on a greased baking sheet and cut a deep cross into the top.
- Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. It will sound hollow when tapped on the base when done