Irish soda bread is definitely the quickest and easiest bread ever. it’s so tender and soft with a crumbly texture. But this recipe a little different with the old fashioned Irish soda bread, it has a kick of orange-thyme along with some walnut surprises!
Irish soda bread is so versatile. whether you make it for sweet or savory, its great for every occasion. its so fast and easy, mess free ( huge point! ) and there is no need to knead too! another good point is that you don’t need yeast or resting time for this bread.
Why Irish ‘”Soda” bread?
Despite other types of breads that gain their rise from yeast over time, this bread uses the reaction between the baking soda (alkaline agent) and the buttermilk (acidic agent) which leads to a very fast production of carbon dioxide, and therefore the dough rises.
Also, i have to mention that you don’t need to be worried about using baking soda in your bread (as rumors says). it’s not dangerous at all. In fact, by adding the buttermilk and the reaction happening, the baking soda is neutralized and simply turned into the baking powder, which is the neutralized type of baking soda that reacts to the liquids in the mixture to level.
What flour is the best?
The good news is you can use “almost” every flour. i am not sure about the gluten-free ones so be careful about that. but the whole grain, barley, oat flour, all purpose and… are fine. you could even use a mixture of both, such as half AP and half whole great or barley flour. there will be a subtle difference in taste and color but everything else is just fine.
Don’t forget the cross!
The Irish soda bread is famous for it’s big cross in the middle. but i’ts not only for the aesthetics, but mainly due to the fact that it helps to cook the middle of the bread, better and faster. use a very sharp knife or blade, and draw a cross on the middle of the dough before baking. you can also add different seeds on top such as sesame or poppy seeds too.
Irish soda bread has a very different texture and crumb in comparison with other yeast based breads. the main difference is in the cake-type texture. you can’t see those big air bubbles or soft and chewiness in this bread, but it has it’s own lovely properties!
I like to cut it before serving and toast it again to give it a nice crunch. just toast it before serving to keep it fresh. also, you can give it a quick hot blast in the oven if the bread is stale and it will come back again to life!
Irish soda bread
- 4 Cups Flour
- 1¾ Cups Buttermilk Or milk+1tbps vinegar
- 1 Large Egg
- 1.5 tsp Baking soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- 50 Grams Cold butter
- 2 tbsp Zest of an orange
- ½ Cup Walnuts, raisins, pecans… not necessary
- 2 tbsp Sugar not necessary
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 C or 400 F.
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Grate or chop the cold butter, and rub it to the dry ingredients or use a food processor and give it a few pulses.
- Mix the buttermilk, orange zest and egg in another boll, then add it to the dry ingredients.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix the dough together, it is a wet dough so don't add any extra flour.
- Toss the walnuts with 1 tsp of flour to coat them and prevent them to sink in the dough. then add them to the dough and mix in.
- Spray or rub some oil to your hands, grab the dough and shape it to a ball. place it in the middle of your baking tray or skillet, cut a cross on top of the dough using a very sharp knife.
- Sprinkle some sesame seed if you life. put in the oven for 40 minutes. you can check it after 30 minutes, and if you want a more golden brown color, just turn on the grill for the last minutes.
- Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting.
- you can store the bread on a sealed container inside the fridge. just warm it up before serving.
- You can substitute the buttermilk with runny plain yogurt, or just milk plus 2 tbsp of vinegar.
- You can also use a mixture of half-all purpose half-whole grain flour or just use all whole grain but the texture would be denser and the color will be darker.