What is St. Patrick’s Day without some delicious soda bread? While you can easily find soda bread in the stores at this time of year, I prefer to make it myself from scratch. This is pretty much the only recipe I can actually bake, and it’s a simple but delicious one! I adapted this recipe years ago from Cathal Armstrong’s soda bread recipe, which you can find here, via Food & Wine. Enjoy!
4 cups whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur’s Whole Wheat Flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2-3/4 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 375°. Prepare your baking surface–I use a cookie tray with a buttered surface.
In a large (VERY large!) bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the egg. Stir the wet ingredients with the dry with a wooden spoon (or your hands) until a dough begins to form.
Transfer the dough to a flour work surface (I use a large cutting board) and knead the dough until it is smooth. Be careful not to over-knead! I find that, despite its messiness, this is my favorite part of bread-baking as it is so relaxing.
Form the dough into a round and place on your baking surface. Cut a cross or “X” in the middle of the dough, being careful not to cut all the way through. This causes the heat to penetrate through the bread, allowing the bread to rise and expand. Traditionally, cutting a cross into the bread was believed to protect the household against devils and demons. This also allows the bread to be easily broken into four sections!
Bake the bread for about 50 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when you rap on the bottom. Let cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!
This bread can keep up to three days in an airtight container–if you can manage to refrain from eating it all at once! I love this bread served with a hearty soup or stew for dinner, or lightly toasted and spread with Kerrygold butter, accompanied by a cup of Irish Breakfast tea, for breakfast!