Soda bread is an old-fashioned style bread made without yeast, but instead with the addition of bicarbonate of soda- where the bread gets its name.
The bicarbonate of soda and the acid from the buttermilk react to give the bread its rise, while adding flavour. If you cannot get hold of buttermilk natural yoghurt can be substituted.
This bread is rustic, robust and moist while having a crumbly buttery crust. Soda bread tastes great on its own smothered with butter or is great with pates, soups and strong cheeses.
250g whole-wheat flour
250g white flour
10g bicarbonate of soda
10g cream of tartar
10g caster sugar
1 pinch salt
30g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon oats
Sea salt flakes
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Sift flours, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, salt and sugar together into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub with your fingers until the flour becomes crumbly.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and gradually pour in the milk and buttermilk incorporating the flour as you go.
Once you have dough that just comes together, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth.
Form into a dome and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand, marking a cross on the top with a knife. Allow the dough to stand on a floured baking tray for 10-15 minutes before brushing it with milk a sprinkling it with oats and sea salt.
Bake for 40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Serve with butter and jam, alongside pates and terrines or with a hearty soup.