On our way to Italy for our family trip, we stopped over in Ireland for a short stay. During those few days, I fell in love with the tiny bistros and gastropubs that dot Irish cities. Each one serves incredible soups and stews, always complemented by a good Irish soda bread.
Soda bread has been an Irish staple since the early 1800s. At that time baking soda was introduced as an alternative leavening agent to yeast. Like many things in Ireland, soda bread is steeped in folklore. While cutting a cross on top of the bread helps it to rise, mythology claims that the cross wards off evil or lets the fairies escape.
Regardless of the intention behind the cross on your loaf, I think you’ll find this to be a lovely and simple bread to bake alongside a stew or soup. It’s an easy Iris Soda Bread that you can quickly make.
All-purpose flour 4 cups, plus more for dusting
Fine sea salt 1 teaspoon
Baking soda 1 teaspoon
Buttermilk 1 ¾ cups
Vegetable oil for brushing
Preheat oven to 425F or 220C
Brush a baking sheet with the vegetable oil. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in most of the buttermilk, reserving just a bit. Mix with a wooden spoon starting at the center of the well pulling the flour into the center. The dough should be soft but not too wet. If it is dry go ahead and pour in the rest of the buttermilk. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead lightly for about 2 to 3 minutes. Shape into an 8-inch round.
Put the loaf onto the prepared baking sheet and cut a fairly deep cross (about ½ to ¾ inch) at the top with a sharp knife . Bake until golden loaf center temperature is at 190F or 90C, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Serve warm.
Keywords: bread, Easy Irish Soda Bread, Easy Irish Soda