Irish soda bread is a rustic and hearty bread full of fiber, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients. It’s a little denser than regular sandwich bread and is perfect for enjoying with your favorite autumnal and winter soups. Making bread at home is a great way to save money, and this recipe will give you fresh bread from start to finish in about an hour.
The texture of bread is related to the air bubbles formed by pockets of carbon dioxide that allow the bread to rise. In a yeast bread, carbon dioxide is formed when the yeast (an organism in the fungi kingdom) eats sugars in the bread. In a soda bread, the carbon dioxide comes from the combination of acid (buttermilk) with alkaline (baking soda).
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 40 min | Total time: 50 min | Yield: 1 loaf of bread, around 12 ½-inch slices
- 2 cups white all purpose flour
- 1¾ cups whole wheat flour
- 2-3 Tbsp flour for dusting
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 cups buttermilk (or make your own substitute with 2 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar and 2 cups of your favorite milk, dairy or non-dairy).
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In a bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda, and salt. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before adding the next ingredients.
- Add buttermilk (or lemon juice/vinegar and milk) and mix together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Note: These ingredients immediately start a leavening reaction, so you’ll want to get your bread in the oven fairly quickly after adding them!
- Sprinkle extra flour onto your kneading surface (sanitized counter, cutting board, or wide bowl), add your dough, and sprinkle with more flour. Knead the dough no more than 8-10 times to incorporate ingredients together into a ball.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the ball of dough onto the baking sheet, patting it down into a 1″ thick disk.
- Use a knife to cut an X shape into the top of the dough ½” deep.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, lower oven temperature to 400°F and bake for another 20 minutes (until the base sounds hollow when tapped in the middle).
- Move the loaf to a cooling rack and let cool completely (at least 30 minutes) before cutting.
Try it yourself and tell us about it in the comments!
Solid Ground’s Community Food Education (CFE) program hosts cooking and nutrition classes to support healthy and holistic living on a budget. The CFE team created this series of cooking videos to offer resources, tips, and tricks that you can practice at home. Visit our Food and Nutrition and Coronavirus Food Resources webpages for more food and nutrition info and resources.