In Northern Ireland brown soda bread is known as wheaten bread, in the south, soda bread tends to be made with white flour.
Irish flour is very soft and is difficult for baking yeast-leavened breads, hence the development of a bread using baking soda.
Soda bread would traditionally be baked on a hot cast-iron griddle over an open peat fire. The griddled soda bread would be cooked into a round with an indentation marking the quarters; each quarter when broken off, hot and warm is called a farl.
Today, the bread is baked in the oven with consistent results, a light hand is still important, though.
- 500g 1 lb 2 oz whole grain wheat flour
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 500ml /18 fl o buttermilk
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and bicarbonate of soda. Add the buttermilk and stir to form a loose dough.
- Lightly dust the work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Knead the dough gently until smooth.
- Shape the dough into a ball and flatten to roughly 5cm/ 2in thick. Using a sharp knife lightly slash the surface of the dough in the shape of a cross.
- Place the dough on a greased, baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30-35 mins until well risen and a light brown color.
- Leave to cool.
Enjoy thick slices with butter. Perfect for an afternoon tea.