Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Buttermilk Soda Bread

Making your own bread may seem very scary but this is the easiest and most rewarding bread you'll ever make.  You don't need yeast, a breadmaker or even a food mixer - just a big bowl and your own hands.  The buttermilk gives the bread a beautiful yellow colour and it rises beautifully thanks to the bicarbonate of soda. You'll never buy shop-bought soda bread again...

You can add extra ingredients to the bread to customise it : currants, chocolate chips, cheese, herbs from your garden - whatever takes your fancy.

Buttermilk Soda Bread

450g Plain Flour
1 tsp Caster Sugar
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 tsp Salt
350ml Buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 230c/Gas Mark 8

Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl, make a well and add the buttermilk.

Using your hand like a claw, mix the flour and buttermilk together, adding a drop more buttermilk if the mixture is too dry.  The dough should be soft, but not wet and sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form into a round about 3.5cm thick.  Put the dough onto a baking sheet and cut a deep cross into it using a very sharp knife (this lets the fairies out!)

Bake for 15 minutes at 230c/Gas Mark 8, then reduce the temperature to 200c/Gas Mark 6 and bake for another 30 minutes.  The bread should be golden and sound hollow when you tap the base.  If you don't hear this sound, give it another 5 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack before covering in butter and devouring.  If any of the bread survives the night, it makes excellent toast too.


  1. Just the way we always made it at home but really struggle to buy buttermilk here. Have you ever tried putting lemon juice through natural yoghurt as an alternative/subsitute? Have seen Nigel Slater mention it a couple of times

  2. We've no problem buying buttermilk in Ireland - every supermarket has it so I don't have to make it myself (thank goodness as I'm rather lazy...)

  3. This is one of the firts irish recipe I learned when I arrived here but I have to admit the flavour is never never never the same of the one made by real irish people! :)

  4. how do i make irish brown soda bread?

  5. No, no, no! The cross is to bless the bread. If you want to let the fairies out, you stick a sharp knife into each quarter. I always keep the fairies in!
    Making soda bread seems a bit of a palaver if you only do it now and again, but if you do it every few days, it just becomes a pleasant habit, no bother!
    The simplest brown recipe is the same, just use half coarse brown and half white flour. For added interest, I put in an ounce of Macroom Oatmeal and a couple of teaspoons of milled linseed.
    I must visit your blog more often, it's good!