This recipe is not an authentic Irish recipe. It is the result of much trial on my part – lots of loaves of failed soda bread because I used too much bicarbonate of soda in my quest for an easy and quick bread recipe. But at last I think I’ve cracked it – something that tastes good and is simple and quick to make. And having cracked it, my next task is to experiment with different flavours, but for now I think I’ll just sit with a nice, warm slice of this bread thickly spread with butter and revel in, at last, having made a loaf of soda bread that didn’t taste so soda-y that I immediately wanted to throw it away. This makes a medium-sized loaf and all the cup measurements below are, as usual, based on a 250 ml mug as equal to one cup. I used 1 cup of water – the amount you need may vary depending on how absorbent the flour you are using is, but bear in mind that it may seem, until the last minute, that there is not enough water and so, if you do add more, add it sparingly.
What you’ll need:
2 1/2 cups plain flour
Few grains salt
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup boiling water
What to do:
1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180º C or 350º F).
2. Sift together into a bowl the flour, salt and bicarb.
3. Add the water to the bowl and mix/knead it thoroughly into the flour, salt and bicarb. It may take a little while to bring in all the flour and create a firm dough (you’ll probably need to use your hands towards the end…).
4. Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten it into a round/wheel shape about half an inch high and put it onto a greased baking tray. Cut a cross shape into the top of the loaf.
5. Bake the bread in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about half an hour or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath. When done, remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack, or (if you’re me), immediately split open the loaf and spread a hunk of the bread thickly with real butter and a spread of your choice before devouring. If you want to leave the loaf to cool before eating, spear (for example with a cake tester) a couple of places to help the steam escape.