OK so this is, by far, the easiest recipe ever. It’s not fancy. It doesn’t involve a million ingredients. And it’s not at all gluten free, but let’s not hold that against it. Just because I can’t eat it anymore, doesn’t mean everyone else can’t eat it anymore.
I make this yearly around St. Patrick’s Day. Usually several batches at a time. I take it to parties. I hand it out at my own party. I send people home from parties with it. I usually spend the day after the party emailing the recipe to curious people who spent the evening wondering how I made the bread from just 4 ingredients and 30 minutes of my evening.
It’s the first thing I learned how to bake in Home Economics class when I was in secondary school in Dublin and one year I taught a group of youth from a community centre in Calgary how to bake it. I actually couldn’t remember how to make it as an adult and had to call upon my friend, who’s a primary school teacher back home, to explain it to me. I’m also not entirely sure if it was the first thing I learned how to bake or if it’s just the only thing I remember baking…except those milk drops…which we don’t speak of….because I dropped them all taking them out of the oven.
I was so sad.
Anyway, this is a simple, no fuss recipe that’s really hard to get wrong and I won’t bore you with more paragraphs to scroll past about the history of Irish Soda Bread. However if you are interested in the history of Irish Soda Bread, The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread has got a website for you!
And yes, you can add raisins to the bread if you’re feeling extra fancy but then you’re veering into Tea Cake / Scone territory.
IRISH SODA BREAD
#funfact: this recipe fits neatly on a Post-It note
3.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups buttermilk (plus more if needed)
3/4tsp baking soda
Mix flour, salt and baking soda together. Form well in middle. Add buttermilk. Mix with a wooden spoon until juuuuust combined and still lumpy.
Turn out onto floured surface. Kneed for a few seconds, add a little buttermilk if needed.
Shape into a round and cut an X on it.
Bake at 425 for 30 minutes.
To test of it’s done, knock on the bottom of the loaf and if it sounds hollow, it is done. I recommend holding it upside down in an oven mitten cos it sounds easy tapping on the bottom of a loaf of bread fresh from the oven…but it is not.