The most basic of Irish soda bread recipes contains only flour, salt, buttermilk, and baking soda. Variations using seeds and dried fruits are galore. This bread does not need kneading, and a minimal amount of handling is best.
Nor does it need time to rise. It's as simply as mixing all the ingredients lightly until just incorporated, form a rough ball out of it, slit an X on the surface to help the heat penetrate the thickest part, and bake.
Slathering generously with butter while still warm is almost as traditional as the recipe itself.
Don't have buttermilk? Add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to a cup of whole milk, stir, and let stand for 10 minutes.
1 1/4 cup whole what flour
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Tip the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.
Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a large fork to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.)
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
Form into a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Cool on a wire rack.
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