Irish Soda Bread is a soft, cake like bread that rises due to a reaction between the baking soda and the acid in buttermilk. Using baking soda to leaven instead of yeast is how soda bread got its name. It became very popular in early Ireland because soft wheat is the only wheat that would grow in that climate. When mixed like a traditional dough the soft wheat flour doesn’t form any gluten like traditional yeast bread but works very well with baking soda as the leavening agent. In the early 1800’s people did not have a lot of resources and soda bread was very easy and inexpensive to make. All you needed was a cast-iron pot with a lid placed right on the fire, flour, buttermilk (leftover from the butter making process), salt and soda.
Soda Bread was very lightly kneaded and formed into a ball with a cross cut across the top. Legend said the cross was to let out the evil spirits while baking for good luck. Good Old Fashioned Irish Soda Bread is a perfect Irish recipe just in time for St. Patricks Day. Serve it warm with butter and jam or add raisins and see it disappear even faster.
Irish Soda Bread
3 cups of Byrd Mill all purpose flour
1Tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
1 lightly beaten egg
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup raisins optional
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan. Combine dry ingredients. Blend the egg and buttermilk and add to dry mixture. Mix until moistened and stir in melted butter. Pour into loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack and wrap in foil until served.