Irish Soda Bread

The traditional Irish breakfast includes at least one of the following fried items: pork, sausages, bacon, eggs and black pudding (oh yes, a recipe will follow!), accompanied by tea or coffee and the traditional soda bread, which is made with baking soda instead of yeast. Soda bread dates to approximately 1840, when bicarbonate of soda was introduced to Ireland. Bicarbonate of soda replaced yeast as the leavening agent, which means no waiting around for the dough to rise! There are several theories as to the significance of the cross in soda bread. Some believe that the cross was placed in the bread to ward off evil. It is more likely that the cross is used to help with the cooking of the bread or to serve as a guideline for even slices. (To be honest, when I made the bread for the picture, I totally forgot about the cross -as you can probably see- and it turned out fine! No problem with the slicing and no evil least so far !)


  • 10 oz. (280g) rye flour, mixed with 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 10 oz. (280g) all-purpose flour, mixed with 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 ½ - 3 c buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 410º F (190°C).

Grease a baking sheet with melted butter or use a waxed baking sheet. In a large bowl combine the two different flours, the salt and the baking soda. Add as much buttermilk to produce moist (not sticky!) and smooth dough!
Sprinkle some flour on a working surface. To knead the dough, fold it towards you and push it away with the heels of your hands. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat until the dough feels smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle some flour onto it. Form a ball and set on the prepared baking sheet. That is how it should look like:

With a sharp knife cut the dough crosswise. Brush with water and sprinkle some more flour onto it. And then right into the oven, no more rising! Bake for about 30 minutes.

The loaf should sound hollow when tapped.


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