Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Reviewing Baking Irish Soda Bread With A Twist.

 


Soda bread is bread but made without yeast and there is no need to wait for it to rise or have resting periods. So it is a very quick and easy delicious bread to make. 

You can find the basic recipe in many places online but I wanted to tell you about the things I do to make it a little extra special.

I first made Irish Soda bread with my Mum and have continued t make it throughout my life. It is a bread I really like and it is easy and fun to make. 


What You Need To Bake Soda Bread

Weighing scales

A large mixing bowl

A normal eating knife

A teaspoon

A clean clear surface 

A measuring jug 




Basic Ingredients To Bake Soda Bread

Wholemeal strong flour 500g

2 teaspoons of sea salt or ordinary salt if you don't have sea salt

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

400ml of milk. Whole milk is recommended but I have found you can use whole milk or semi-skimmed and I also use Almond milk. 

1 lemon or about 4-5 teaspoons of lemon juice if you don't have a lemon to squeeze

2 teaspoons of honey - I have found you can omit this if you don't like or cannot have honey.



 Baking Method

  • Pre Heat oven to gas mark 6 or 200C/180C fan
  • Mix together in a large bowl the flour, bicarb of soda and salt.
  • This is also the time to add any other optional dry ingredients
  • Mix the milk and lemon juice together in a jug then wait one minute and it turns into buttermilk. Add the honey at this stage if you wish.
  • Pour the milk mixture into the bowl and stir gently ideally using a knife, not your hands, so the dry ingredients and the milk mixture come together in a sticky dough. 
  • Handle the dough as little as possible. This bread is much better the less we handle it. 
  • Take the dough which will feel quite sticky and place it onto a floured surface. I use the same wholemeal flour.  Quickly shape it into a round or oval shape covering all sides with the flour. 
  • The dough should then be placed on a floured baking tray and make a cross on the top with the knife. Then put it straight into the pre heated oven. You do not need to allow any time for rising with this bread recipe, in fact the sooner you get it in the oven at this point the better. 
  • It will need about 40 minutes in the oven. However, we have found in a fan oven it needs a little less. So I generally check it halfway through.
  • After baking leave it to cool on a wire rack. Or eat it warm. 


Additional Ingredients To Make Soda Bread Special

I have experimented with quite a few ingredients and these are my favorites. All of these should be added to the dry flour mix before adding the milk.

If you add a lot more dry ingredients you will need to increase the amount of milk mix accordingly, so that it is not too dry. 




Rosemary- we have lots of rosemary in the garden so I just cut some fresh green tender growth beforehand and wash it then chop it very finely and add it to the mix. It smells amazing and is lovely in this recipe.

I am thinking you could add any herbs you like to this recipe. I have wondered what it would be like with lavender or chives. 


Cinnamon- We both love cinnamon and so add it to this recipe. It smells and tastes gorgeous and an added bonus is the whole house is beautifully scented of cinnamon! 

I would also like to try ginger when I am making more of a bread-cake mix. 


 

Oats. We just use normal breakfast porridge oats and add about a cupful to the recipe. If you do this you will find you need to increase the amount of milk accordingly or it will be too dry. 

Adding oats gives the bread more body and makes it more into a very tasty and filling healthy cake.  

Fruit. I have tried a lot of different fruits and I think the most successful are dried good quality raisins and cherries either fresh or frozen -ones defrosted beforehand. You could add whatever are your favorite fruits. 


If you are making more of a soda bread - cake you can also sprinkle with icing sugar or decorate the top to your individual taste after baking. This makes it unique and individual for occasions like Halloween or Christmas bread. 

Now you can add all these additional ingredients but it is probably best to exercise some restraint and add one or two extra and see how you like it. 

You can eat it with butter, margarine, cream or jam or it tastes just lovely on its own. We often have the simple bread recipe mix with no extra ingredients with a stew or with chilli. When we add the extra ingredients we like to eat it warm on its own. 


 

I prefer this soda bread mix warm but If it does cool completely and we want it warm we find it is perfectly fine to warm up again with 5 minutes in the oven without burning or losing its quality. 

I like making this bread as it is very quick, easy and satisfying to make. You can adapt the recipe to suit you, and it can be vegetarian and diabetic-friendly.

I am honestly not sure how long it should last as a loaf is always gone in a maximum of two days here! I imagine perhaps three or four days stored properly would be about right. 

This soda bread is wonderful as a supper snack, with the main meal and also, especially if you add oats as breakfast.


I like baking but I do not get much time these days so this quick recipe is great for me. I am sure the true chefs and avid bakers amongst you can make this even more delicious! 

The whole task takes about an hour and most of that is the oven doing the cooking so maybe 15-20 minutes or less of preparation time so is easy bread making.

We find it is especially lovely to eat home made soda bread warm on an autumn or winter's day and often it does not last long enough to completely cool on the rack!


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7 comments:

  1. What interesting variations to Soda Bread. Thanks so much for your suggestions, Raintree Annie. I can see the variation choices are practically endless according to one's tastes. You mention how good it is with oats for breakfast and plain or with herbs as a supper snack. I am imaging it really good on a cold winters day with homemade soup. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I used to love baking (and eating) Irish Soda Bread before I cut grains out of my diet. I often mixed in dried currants or raisins. It was lovely!

    I really like your ideas about adding fresh herbs and oats. Thanks so much for sharing your family’s recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for this recipe. I have been looking for a good Soda Bread recipe and it looks like you have just filled that need for me Raintree Annie. My husband I'm sure with thank you too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My husband loves homemade bread and I can hardly wait to try your recipe. I'm sure he will love it! He like dried cranberries and nuts which I might try adding at some point, but for the first loaf, I think I will stick with your basic recipe. I love it when friends share their recipes. I can trust they will be better than most! Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love bread with different fruits and nuts. Thanks for the delicious suggestions.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This recipe sounds delicious and easy to handle - I've never had this type of bread (I don't think?) - I know I would love it - I would try it with cinnamon, yum

    ReplyDelete
  7. Using your recipe will make this bread extra special. I have never tried Irish soda bread. Adding the rosemary sounds so appealing to me. I look forward to this taste treat delight. Thanks for sharing the deliciousness!

    ReplyDelete

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