I was first taught how to make White Soda Bread by my mother. The art of making homemade bread has disappeared; even my mother has stopped making it weekly over the years and has taken the 'easier' option of just picking up a loaf at the weekly country market. Nothing beats the taste and aroma of a fresh loaf of White Soda Bread straight out of the oven, served with a layer of delicious Kerrygold butter.
There are lots of recipes for White Soda Bread all working off the same recipe for a simple White Soda Bread. Here is the method I use to make White Soda Bread:.
- 450g Plain White Cream Flour (cream flour only).
- 1 Level Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Level Teaspoon Bread Soda (Very important that it is a level teaspoon, use a knife or your finger to level off the bread soda on your teaspoon).
- 350ml-400ml Buttermilk (The amount of buttermilk you will need varies depending on the flour).
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or gas mark six.
Firstly, get yourself prepared by lightly flouring a baking tray and your work surface.
-Sieve the flour into a very wide mixing bowl.
-Using a bread sieve or tea strainer; sieve the salt and bread soda evenly over the flour, pushing down the ingredients to ensure that it is all sieved through.
-Make a well in the centre and pour 350ml of buttermilk in and hold back the remanding 50ml.
Important: Do not over work your mixture- the less you mix your dough the better the bread- the more your mix your dough- the tougher your bread will be.
Some people use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together but to really work the dough get your hands dirty! Make a giant 'claw' with your best hand outstretched, then hold the side of the bowl with your other hand and mix clockwise incorporating all the flour.
Judge the mixture, if it is too dry then add the remanding 50ml in parts but remember this is the make or break point for the bread so judge carefully. The dough mixture should be nice and firm but definitely not sticky. If the dough is sticky then your bread will be too wet and you will only be able to make scones out of the mixture. This is why the "50ml buttermilk stage" is so important as you may only need half of this 50ml.
Wash your hands. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and tidy the dough into a neat 2 inch thick round. Cut a one inch deep cross in the dough and make a cut in the four corners of the dough to help the bread to rise.
Bake for 45 minutes. Take your bread off the baking tray and turn the bread upside down after 35 minutes so as to not over brown the top of the bread. All ovens vary so be the best judge yourself; if it is too pale give it another 5 minutes or more.
The bread should be light to lift and not heavy. A good check to see if the bread is done is to hold the bread upside down; knock the bread three times and if the bread says hello- it's not done- but if it sounds hallow you have made a perfect loaf.
Take the loaf out of the oven then wrap the loaf in a dry tea-towel and leave it relax for ten minutes before enjoying.
1. If your bread is too heavy; you have used too much buttermilk.
2. If your bread has green dots in it; you have used too much bread soda- level teaspoon remember!
3. Ensure you are using the correct 'teaspoon' as many out there are in fact a half a teaspoon bigger- this will turn your bread green not to mention your face when you taste!
4. The buttermilk you get in the supermarkets is generally low fat buttermilk, try to use full fat buttermilk or use my recipe to make your own.