White Soda Bread
Irish cookbook author Darina Allen’s soda bread recipes have you, literally, stirring them by hand, using one hand to mix the dry ingredients and buttermilk to form the dough. Avoid over-mixing and knead just enough to bring the dough together. Within an hour, from start to finish, you will have homemade bread on the table.
- Scant 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 level tsp. salt
- 1 level tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- First, preheat your oven to 450°F.
- Sift the dry ingredients and put them into a large bowl.
- Make a well in the center. Pour most of the milk in at once. Using one hand, stir in a full circle to mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more buttermilk, if necessary. The absorption rate varies depending on the brand of flour. The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky.
- When it comes together, turn it out onto a floured board and knead lightly for a second, just enough to tidy it up.
- Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat the dough into a round about 2 inches deep and cut a cross in it to let the fairies out! Let the cuts go over the sides of the bread to make sure of this.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 400°F for a further 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked. If in doubt, tap the bread bottom; it should sound hollow.
- Cool on a wire rack or on the windowsill in the time-honored way.
For a softer crust, wrap the hot bread in a clean dish towel. Variation — Emigrant’s Bread: Add 1 Tbs. sugar and 2 to 3 tsp. caraway seeds to the dry ingredients in the White Soda Bread.
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