One of the most memorable foods from my childhood, both in Ireland and the US, was fresh soda bread. This was a part of my culture, but more importantly it was something done as a family. I remember making it with my mother, and being around when it was made by my aunts and grandmother, and it is something I continued to make with my own kids. This is a simple bread, with little fuss, and no long lead times for rising. Buttermilk is becoming much easier to get hold of in the UK these days, but I do remember visiting my aunt in Reading a few years ago and finding she had a ready supply of whole milk soured with a spoonful of lemon juice on hand for her bread-making.
- Whole Wheat Flour 175 g
- Plain Flour 300 g (plus some for kneading)
- Porridge Oats handful
- Bicarbonate (baking) Soda 1 tsp
- Salt 1 tsp
- Melted Butter or Oil 1 tsp
- Honey 2 tsp
- Buttermilk (or soured milk) 450 ml
Preheat the oven to 200 C/390 F. In a large mixing bowl stir together all of the dry ingredients. Then add the buttermilk, butter, and honey. Mix well with a wooden spoon and then begin to knead by hand. Add small amounts of plain flour if needed in order to form a firm but pliable ball. Dust this with a small amount of flour and place on a flat baking sheet. Press into a firm round loaf shape and cut 4 or 5 parallel groves into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake 30-35 minutes (loaf sounds hollow when bottom tapped). Place on a wire rack to cool.