Hi Bold Bakers!
In Ireland, we are extremely fortunate to have access to some of the best produce in the world, from butter, eggs, oats and much more. I was very lucky to have an incredible Mum who showed me how to cook. She made everything from scratch every day. For a family of seven, that’s pretty incredible.
My mum says one of the greatest gifts you can give a child is to teach them how to cook. This is one of the main reasons why I’m here today. With my mum’s permission, I’m allowed to share her recipe for Traditional Irish Soda Bread with you.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread has a particular look, but do you know what it is? The marking on top is a cross. It comes from blessing the bread before baking. Also you poke a hole in each corner of the loaf to release the fairies that can curse your bread if not released.
A few notes about Buttermilk : Buttermilk is a must in this recipe and can’t be left out. The main reason is the buttermilk chemically reacts with the baking soda to make the bread rise. The buttermilk adds lovely flavor to your bread. Some people worry about tasting the acid buttermilk but once it’s bake you can’t taste it at all. If you can’t buy buttermilk, the next best things is you can make it. You can find my easy Buttermilk Substitute recipe as a great addition to this recipe and many others.
Tips for a perfect loaf of Soda Bread: Start out by mixing your bread dough in a large bowl so you have space to mix your dough, which will reduce the chances of you over-mixing and toughening your bread.
Always level your teaspoon of baking soda before adding it to your ingredients. There are two very good reasons for this that can make or break your bread: 1): Too much baking soda will tint your bread green! Seriously, it gives your bread a greenish hue on the inside. Worse than that; 2) Too much baking soda can give your bread a very acidic taste which can be quite unpleasant, so remember less is more with the baking soda.
For the whole wheat flour, I like to keep mine fresh in the freezer because I don’t use it as often as white flour. The oils in the flour can turn rancid over time so just freeze it and use it when you’re in need.
For a beautiful, crispy crust refrain from opening the door while baking. I know how tempting it is but believe me your bread won’t burn. It’s not going anywhere and it will be worth it when you take out a beautiful loaf of bread with a thick crust.
Traditional Irish Soda Bread is made in homes everyday all over Ireland. It has a beautiful crust, a close crumb and a lovely wheat flavor.
Irish Soda Bread doesn’t require yeast and no resting so it is incredibly fast to whip up. And the faster you make it the better the bread will be. It is what’s considered a quick bread.
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- 1 3/4 cups (265g/ 9oz) whole wheat flour (fine or coarsely ground)
- 1 3/4 cups (265g/9oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons (30g/1oz) butter, cold
- 1 egg
- 1 2/3 cups (400ml) buttermilk*
- 1 tablespoons oats
Preheat the oven to 425°F (215°C).
Mix together the flours, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs.
In a separate jug, whisk the egg and buttermilk together (see note on how to make Buttermilk below)
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid, 3/4 at once, into the flour mixture.
Using an open hand bring the flour and liquid together to a loose dough. The dough should be quite soft, but not too sticky. You will know then if it needs more of the liquids. (Flour in different places reacts differently to added liquid).
Turn onto a floured work surface and gently bring the dough together into a round about 1 1/2 inches (4cm) thick (8 inches by 8 inches) .
Place on a baking sheet dusted well with flour
Score the bread by blessing it with a deep cross on top. Poke a hole in the 4 corners of the bread to release the fairies and stop them from cursing your beautiful bread.
Glaze the bread with the leftover bit of buttermilk in your jug and dust the top with rolled oats.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 400°F (200°C) and bake for 30 minutes more. When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.
5 PointsPlus Points
*For every Cup of Buttermilk needed mix 1 cup of regular milk with 2 tablespoons of Lemon juice or white vinegar. Mix and let it stand for a minimum of 30 minutes before using.
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Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!
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