My dear friend, Bonnie, introduced me to Irish soda bread years ago. I couldn’t believe how simple and quick it was to make, let alone delicious and wholesome. AND, it does not require active dry yeast! Her recipe included a few more ingredients than this one calls for, and uses dairy as traditional Irish soda bread does.
Recently, I discovered a woman named Darina Allen. She is one of the founders of the slow food movement in Ireland and the proprietor of a 100-acre organic farm and cookery school. She is my hero, (as is Bonnie!), and from her absolutely charming tutorial video, I learned some very important pointers to bring this bread recipe to life:
Of course, the best part is the reminder to let the fairies out. Of course!
Note: We do not generally have dairy products on hand nor are the recipes on this blog intended to utilize ingredients other than plant-based, and so I simply replace the buttermilk with homemade almond or cashew milk, (you may use store bought as well), and a splash of apple cider vinegar to give it that tangy buttermilk zing. It works gorgeously.
First, add the following and let sit 10 minutes until curdled whilst gathering the rest of the ingredients:
1 ¾ c milk, cashew or almond, with a splash (~1 tsp) apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
Preheat the oven to 450F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and a sprinkle of flour. In a large bowl combine:
3 ½ c flour, I use 2 cups whole wheat and 1 ½ all-purpose. Spelt works too.
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp celtic sea salt
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the “buttermilk”.
With stiff fingers, insert your hand into the center of the well and begin circulating, from the center outward until the dough is almost combined.
Transfer the loose, flaky dough onto a floured surface and simply tidy it up a bit, tucking the edges under. Next, transfer to your prepared baking sheet and flatten the ball to between an inch and a half to two inches high.
Cut a cross on top of the dough and don’t forget to prick all four corners to let the fairies out!
Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes then turn heat down to 400F and bake another 20 minutes. At this point, turn the bread over and bake upside down for 5-10 minutes more, until it sounds hollow when you knock the bottom.
Flip the loaf right-side-up onto a wire rack and let cool before breaking in half and slicing from the heel.
Enjoy this bread with a drizzle of olive oil and nutritional yeast or honey and a sprinkle of thick celtic salt.