So versatile and ready in just 45 minutes from opening the first ingredient, this Irish Soda Bread uses no strange, weird or expensive ingredients. It is all from stuff you probably have, or can easily get, with lots of substitutions if you need them. This lumpy gnarly crusty bread has a satisfying heaviness to it, fantastic dipped into soup or with cheese, or just with loads of butter. In the BBQ season you can use that heat you have left over after the burgers and sausages are being munched, or even cook this along with them!
Our version uses natural yoghurt (and it doesn’t matter if it’s a couple of days over the date on the pack) but you can also use buttermilk. Yoghurt has the acidity to you need to react and rise your bread, and is much more readily available in even the smallest of shops, or just in your fridge. If you have neither, simply take 450ml normal milk and mix in 3 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon / lime juice until it curdles and thickens.
Traditionally cooked on a flat griddle over a fire or on the Aga, Irish Soda bread became popular in the 1830’s when Bicarbonate of Soda was introduced. Bicarb is not just for indigestion and cleaning, it’s a great way of rising this very simple bread, using the acid from the yoghurt or buttermilk to react and give off the gasses that raise your loaf.
We use a Kitchenaid for this recipe (other kitchen machines are available!) however you don't have to, if you want to go uber-traditional just grab a bowl and get your hands in there.
Ingredients – Makes 1 loaf
350g Wholemeal Bread Flour
150g Strong White Bread Flour
30g Butter (salted or unsalted)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
450ml approx. Natural Yoghurt or Buttermilk
Add seeds or nuts as you wish!
1. Preheat a lidded BBQ to 180 – 200 degrees, we use the gas side and have a thermometer in the lid for this (if you don't have one, they are a couple of quid, easy to fit and will pay you back in spades). You can use the coal side, just keep on eye on it and make sure its hot. If using the oven preheat to 180 degrees fan / 200 degrees.
2. Place the flours, bicarb, cream of tartar, salt pepper and butter in the mixing bowl and mix with the paddle / K attachment to rub the fat into the dry ingredients at a slow speed, rather like the start of making pastry.
3. Then add the porridge oats and mix in.
4. Next , half the yoghurt and mix in, once that’s in then continue to add until you have a soft dough forming. If you go too far add a little wholemeal flour.
5. Turn out onto a floured chopping board and form into a ball. Take a knife and cut a cross in the top.
6. Really liberally flour a baking sheet or pan, place the dough in and bake for around 35 mins until it sounds hollow when tapped.
Serve with loads of butter. A great traditional Irish breakfast bread but does with so many other things, and its much butter to rip it up than cut it!