Brown soda bread

Recipe by:

Darina Allen

This comforting Irish classic is a perfect afternoon treat paired with salted butter and berry jam or enjoyed with a bowl of piping hot soup

Brown soda bread

SERVES

10

PEOPLE

PREP TIME

15

MINUTES

COOKING TIME

30

MINUTES

CUISINE

COURSE

Baking

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 230ºC.

  2. Mix the flours in a large bowl and rub in the butter. Add the salt and sieved bread soda. Lift the flour up with your fingers to distribute the salt and bread soda.

  3. Add the beaten egg (if using) to the buttermilk. Make a well in the centre and pour in all the liquid. With your fingers stiff and outstretched, stir in a circular movement from the centre to the outside of the bowl in ever-increasing concentric circles. When you reach the outside of the bowl seconds later the dough should be made.

  4. Sprinkle a little wholemeal flour on to the worktop. Turn the dough out onto the flour. Sprinkle a little flour on your hands. Gently tidy the dough around the edges and flip onto the flour. Tuck the edges underneath with the inner edge of your hands, gently pat the dough with your fingers into a loaf about 4cm thick.

  5. Cut a deep cross into the bread (this is called ‘Blessing the bread’ and then prick it in the centre of the four sections to 'let the fairies out of the bread').

  6. Transfer to a floured baking tray.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 200ºC for the remaining 25-30 minutes. Turn the bread upside down after approximately 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Ingredients

  • 340g wholemeal flour

  • 110g plain white flour

  • 15g butter

  • A barely rounded teaspoon of bread soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 egg

  • 415ml (470ml, minus the egg) buttermilk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 230ºC.

  2. Mix the flours in a large bowl and rub in the butter. Add the salt and sieved bread soda. Lift the flour up with your fingers to distribute the salt and bread soda.

  3. Add the beaten egg (if using) to the buttermilk. Make a well in the centre and pour in all the liquid. With your fingers stiff and outstretched, stir in a circular movement from the centre to the outside of the bowl in ever-increasing concentric circles. When you reach the outside of the bowl seconds later the dough should be made.

  4. Sprinkle a little wholemeal flour on to the worktop. Turn the dough out onto the flour. Sprinkle a little flour on your hands. Gently tidy the dough around the edges and flip onto the flour. Tuck the edges underneath with the inner edge of your hands, gently pat the dough with your fingers into a loaf about 4cm thick.

  5. Cut a deep cross into the bread (this is called ‘Blessing the bread’ and then prick it in the centre of the four sections to 'let the fairies out of the bread').

  6. Transfer to a floured baking tray.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 200ºC for the remaining 25-30 minutes. Turn the bread upside down after approximately 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.