With St. Patrick’s Day upon us again, I thought you might enjoy this lighter, moister version of the traditional Irish Soda Bread. You don’t need any fancy equipment (although a pair of disposable gloves might be handy…no pun intended), and you probably already have all of the ingredients in your kitchen, right now.
Since this is not a yeast bread, there’s no resting or rising time necessary, so you could be enjoying a lovely warm slice of bread, slathered with butter or jam in just over an hour!
This recipe makes one loaf, but you can double it if you like. And you might want to – this is the best version of this simple peasant-style bread that I’ve ever made. See that small chunk of bread there, below? That’s all that was left of Loaf #1, before I got a chance to take a picture! So, get your oven cranked up to 425º F and let’s get started!
Irish Brown Soda Bread v2.0
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
- 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1-1/2 tsp. table salt
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 1-1/2 cups buttermilk (at room temperature)
- Additional all purpose flour, for sprinkling over the loaf (or loaves)
Preheat your oven to 425º F.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add the honey and buttermilk and stir together. As the dough becomes very stiff, you may want to switch to mixing with your (gloved) hands. Continue mixing until all of the dry ingredients are well-incorporated with the liquid, and you can gather it together in the bowl to make a large, rough ball. This is going to be a very slack (wet and sticky), shaggy dough.
Sprinkle flour over the top of the loaf liberally. This is going to allow you to handle the dough ball a bit more easily. If you’ve doubled the recipe, divide the dough in half.
Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
Place the dough ball on the baking sheet and flatten slightly to about 3 inches thick. With a sharp knife, slash an X in the top (to let the fairies out, of course!). If making two loaves, you can put them on the same baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Lay a second sheet of parchment paper over the top, to prevent the bread from browning too quickly, and remove for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the bread is a dark, crusty brown. The loaf should sound hollow when the bottom is thumped with your thumb, and should read about 195º or above on an instant-read thermometer.
This is not the sort of soda bread that you’re likely to find in the grocery stores or bakeries. It’s not enriched, sweet or cake-like, and it’s not stuffed with raisins or other dried fruits. It is, however, a wonderful rustic bread for slicing and toasting, or making sandwiches, or dunking into your soup or stew. It’s also a great introduction to baking bread, or if you need a loaf of bread fairly quickly.
More St. Patrick’s Day food ideas: