1. Preheat the oven to 230º Centigrade/400º Fahrenheit /Gas Mark 9. 2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large, wide bowl, and make a well in the centre. Pour in the milk. Using the fingers of one hand, stiff and oustretched like a claw, stir from the centre to the edge of the bowl in concentric circles. The dough should be softish, but not too wet and sticky. When it all comes together, turn out on to a well-floured work surface. 3. Wash and dry your hands. Pat the dough into a tidy shape and flip over gently, then pat it into a round about 4cm (1 and 1/2 inches) thick. Gently transfer to a floured baking tray. Cut a deep cross into the loaf and prick the centre of each quarter to 'let the fairies out'. 4. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200ºC/370ºF/Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 30 minutes or until cooked. If you are in doubt tap the bottom of the bread: it should sound hollow. Cool on a wire rack. Soda bread is best eaten on the day it is made.
Variation For spotted dog, add 1 tablespoon sugar, 110g (4oz) sultanas and 1 free-range, organic egg to the above recipe. Reduce the buttermilk to 350ml (12fl oz).
From Darina Allen's Easy Entertaining.
Greatfood.ie additional notes
Adding the milk to this Soda Bread recipe
– When we made this recipe, we didn't add all the milk in one go, and in the end didn't need all of it so go carefully.
- The reason that you make a cross in the top of the loaf before you bake it is to allow the heat to get through to the centre of the bread and cook the middle. It could also be a way of 'blessing' the bread before it went in the oven.
- Irish soda bread is a classic Irish recipe. However, you'll find some recipes that use caraway seeds - this is not a spice that is used often in Ireland so it may be a new addition brought to Ireland by people who emigrated here.
- Soda bread is made either with wholewheat flour (in which case it is called Brown Soda Bread) or white flour, in which case it is called White Soda bread.
- This bread was usually made and cooked on the top of the cooker - now it is baked in the oven.