Hi everyone! My name is Meredith and I have been a member of the Daring Kitchen since 2011. I started baking alongside my mom as a child and haven’t looked back since. My favorite things to bake are breads, cookies, and cakes, and now I’m enjoying passing down the love of baking to our two children. I joined Daring Kitchen to broaden my knowledge of baking and conquer new baking challenges. I have learned more than I ever expected here and am so grateful to everyone who has hosted a challenge.
As a nod to my family’s Irish heritage and my on-going desire to travel to Ireland, this month’s challenge is soda bread. I am challenging you to see how many different versions of soda bread our community can produce. This quick bread relies on chemical reactions between baking soda and the acid in buttermilk (sour milk), so no yeast is allowed. Beyond that, have fun while exploring the many options available when making soda bread.
Contrary to popular belief, soda bread wasn’t invented by Irish bakers. In fact, food historians give credit of first using soda to leaven bread to the Native Americans, who used pearl ash to help their breads rise. Over the years, the Irish people have definitely made this delicious treat their own and are most commonly associated with this diverse and delectable food. Traditionally, Irish soda bread can be white or brown, sometimes contains raisins, and often has a cross in the top of each loaf. White soda breads are often enjoyed at breakfast or to soak up stew at dinner.
Recipe Source: Various
Blog-checking lines: For the month of September Meredith from the Poco Loco Olsons challenged us to experiment with soda bread.
You can find the challenge PDF here
Flour measurement – scoop flour from bag using measuring cup and then level with knife
- To 2½ cups of milk add 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or white vinegar) let stand for five minutes and then use as normal buttermilk.
- 2 cups of plain unsweetened yoghurt plus ½ cup of milk
- 1½ cups of sour cream plus 1 cup of milk
Varies based on the recipe.
Mixing bowl (medium)
Stand mixer (not mandatory, but can be helpful)
Baking sheet (for round loaf) or Rectangle loaf pan (based on recipe)
Recipe 1: Irish Country Bread
This recipe was taught to my parents during their first trip to Ireland in 1985. The woman who owned the bed and breakfast they stayed at took them into her kitchen and showed them her recipe and techniques. It has since become a family favorite and never ceases to delight … especially when eaten warm, smeared with butter.
12 or more, based on how the loaf is sliced
- 2½ cups (625 ml) sour milk or buttermilk
- 2 cups (500 ml) (300 gm) (10½ oz) whole wheat four (see note above on how to measure flour)
- 4 cups (1000 ml) (600 gm) (21 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour (see note above on how to measure flour)
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (6 gm) salt
- Preheat oven to hot 450°F/ 230°C/gas mark 8 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. (I do this by hand, but you could use a mixer if you’d prefer.)
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
- Pour the sour milk/buttermilk into the well.
- Mix the dough until the flour is completely incorporated. (It will be very stiff. I find it helpful to knead the dough by hand a few times while it is still in the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated before moving on to the next step.)
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet.
- Pat or roll the dough into a circle shape that is approximately 1 inch (2½ cm) thick.
- Using your fingertips or the blunt end of a wooden spoon handle, make several dimples in the top of the dough. (This is very similar to the technique used when making focaccia bread.)
- Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated hot oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6. Pull the baking sheet out from under the dough, so the parchment is directly on the oven rack. Bake for 10 more minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Soda bread is best if wrapped in aluminum foil after it is completely cool and then given a day to season, but I won’t blame you if you dive into yours as soon as it is out of the oven … it is great that way, too!
Some recipes to inspire you!
Disclaimer – I haven’t tried all of these recipes, so try at your own risk. J
The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread! http://www.sodabread.info/menu/