Soda Bread



Unlike a yeast bread, this quick bread doesn't make you wait for it to rise. Soda bread has four very basic components: flour, baking soda (hence the name), salt and buttermilk. Without yeast, the bread relies on a reaction between the buttermilk and baking soda to leaven the dough. The Irish claimed this bread as their own because their climate is best suited to grow soft wheat—used in cakes and pastries—which doesn't fare well in yeast bread recipes. But don't wait for a St. Patrick's Day feast to try this bread. Slices of hearty soda bread are great toasted with a smear of jam and butter any time. F&W's guide covers the traditional recipe but also throws in some curveballs, like soda bread pudding and bread dotted with caraway seeds and sweet golden raisins.

 

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Irish Soda Bread

This recipe is based on the one my Irish mother learned in school, thanks to the cooking textbook All in the Cooking. It’s about as simple as bread gets—four ingredients, one bowl, about five minutes to bring together and less than an hour in the oven. If you love soda bread, it’s worth seeking out Irish flour like Odlum’s or King Arthur’s Irish-Style Flour, since that contributes to the taste, but any all-purpose flour will work fine here. 

Irish Soda Loaf

Caraway seeds are often included in Irish soda bread; they add a crunchy bite that contrasts with the sweet, soft raisins. Baking the bread as a rectangle in a loaf pan as opposed to the traditional round on a baking sheet preserves moistness and makes neat slices. Slideshow: Breads of the World 

Irish Brown Soda Bread

A trip to Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland inspired Susie Tompkins Buell to make this dense and hearty soda bread. It's perfect used in a sandwich with fromage blanc, smoked salmon, watercress and thinly sliced red onion. More Brunch Ideas
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