We had a delicious breakfast at The White Cottages recently when we stayed on an unexpected trip to Skerries – The bread basket sat unassumingly on the table in the breakfast room overlooking the sea there, and we were almost finished when I noticed two slices of what appeared to be Irish Soda Bread, sitting shyly amongst the other offerings.
Naturally, nothing could prevent me from trying it, and it was so delicious that Joe found me Jackie’s recipe which I duly took home with me.
Jackie makes her Soda Bread in small, 1-pound loaf tins. This recipe will make 2 smaller loaves.
If you only have a larger (2lb) tin, this recipe will give you 1 large loaf.
I was lucky enough to find a couple of small tins on a visit to a local Garden centre, so naturally nothing would do me but to have a go.
This is a gloriously simple recipe, and the bread can be made, popped in the oven, and cooling in less than an hour – it’s no wonder that this is the bread that is made on a daily basis up and down the country.
So tell me – what are you waiting for?
- 2 small(1lb) or 1 large (2lb) loaf tin.(Or my personal favourite for 1 loaf – a 20cm circular Sponge tin)
- a pastry brush
- Weighing scales
- A large mixing bowl
- a flat-bladed knife for mixing
- 450g/1lb Plain Flour
- 1 level teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
- I level teaspoon of salt
- 1-2 teaspoons of caster Sugar
- A handful – I’ve never weighed them – of Raisins or Sultanas – optional
- About 400mls Buttermilk
- a knob of butter, melted
- Heat the oven to 180Fan
- Paint the melted butter all over the inside of the tin/tins.
- Sift the flour and Bicarbonate of Soda together into the bowl
- Add the sugar and stir in.
- Throw in the Raisins now, if you’re using them
- Add about 2/3rds of the Buttermilk and mix in well, adding more as you need it. The dough should be stiff but not too wet.
- Use the knife to divide the dough in two if using the smaller tins.
- Put some extra flour on your hands and move the dough into the tin(s).
- Smooth the top as much as you can
- FOR TWO SMALL LOAF TINS: Pop into the oven for 30 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when you tap the bottom. If you think it’s not quite fully done, turn the loaves over (out of their tins) and bake upside down for another 5 minutes.
- FOR 1 LARGE TIN: put into the oven at 180Fan for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 160 Fan for 20-30 minutes. Test as above.
- Remove from the tins and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Serve sliced with proper Butter and your best jam!
- Obviously the large loaf will take more time to cook fully than two smaller ones.
- This recipe is ideal for people who want proper Irish Soda Bread, but who don’t have access to the accurately-named ‘Soda Bread Flour’ which we have in Northern Ireland!
- Joe suggested painting the insides of the tin with the melted Butter (a tip from his son) and it worked a treat – thanks Joe!
- Although I usually make my Soda bread in a circular 8inch ‘sponge’ tin, the two little tins make a very lady-like loaf, ideal for giving as presents or for slicing as part of an afternoon tea.
- Here’s the link to Mrs Norah Brown’s famous Soda bread.. https://eatingforireland.com/recipe/mrs-browns-soda-bread-bannock/
- Of course, you can add your choice of a handful of dried fruit (I like raisins), or even omit the sugar and try adding fried-chopped bacon and grated cheese, some sun-dried tomatoes a sprinkle of herbs – the choice is yours. Remember not to add too much of anything, you’d need to alter the recipe otherwise.
Here are some more pictures of Skerries – it’s one of my favourite places, ever since my parents first went there to live in 1983.