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Difficulty level Easy

YIELD Makes one loaf

Kelly Rossiter is taking us through cooking basics; start here and see them all here.

Now that you are ready to try baking, I'll introduce you to this soda bread recipe which is just about as easy as it gets. Soda bread is the traditional bread of Ireland; it uses soda as the leavening agent rather than yeast so it rises in the oven during baking. I started this recipe at 11:00 a.m. and we had warm bread and cheese for lunch. This is a very dense bread, so it isn't really suitable for sandwiches, but it is great as part of a Ploughman's Lunch.

INGREDIENTS

3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups buttermilk

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Measure flour, salt and soda and mix together in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Stir, adding more buttermilk if needed; the dough should be soft, but not wet or sticky.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead just enough to bring the dough together. Turn it over and pat it into a round loaf about 1 1/2 inches high.
  5. Place on a baking sheet and cut a cross into the top of the loaf with a knife. Cut fairly deeply into the bread, being sure to cut all the way to the edges; this helps the bread to rise properly.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400°F and bake for another 30 minutes or until done. To test, tap the bread on the bottom. It will sound hollow when done.

    From The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

This recipe appears in: Quick Breads
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