Recipe courtesy of Rachel Allen

Ballymaloe White Soda Bread

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: 1 loaf
Share This Recipe

Ingredients

1 pound all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon caster sugar (superfine)

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

1 teaspoon salt

12 to 15 ounces (1 1/2 cups to 2 cups) buttermilk or sour milk

Directions

  1. We bake this bread every day at the cookery school, and it is very quick and simple to make at home, too. This is the basic recipe but there are so many sweet and savory variations that you can try - chocolate, raisins, cinnamon, cubes of crispy bacon, cheese, herbs . . . the possibilities are endless. The deep cross in the loaf is supposed to let out the fairies - so that the bread won't be jinxed by evil spirits! In reality, of course, it's just to allow the heat to penetrate the loaf as it's cooking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Sift the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, and salt into a large bowl, and make a well in the center. Pour in most of the buttermilk, leaving about 2 ounces in the measuring cup. Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, bring the flour and liquid together, adding more buttermilk, if necessary. Do not knead the mixture or it will become heavy. The dough should be soft, but not too wet and sticky. When the dough comes together, turn it out onto a floured work surface, and bring it together a little more. Pat the dough into a round, about 1 1/2-inches deep, and cut a deep cross in it. Place the round on a baking tray, and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 400 degrees F, and cook for 30 minutes more. When cooked, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the base and be golden in color. Cook's Note: I often turn it upside down for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Variations: White Soda Scones: Make the dough as above but flattened into a round approximately 2 1/2 1-inch deep. Cut into scones, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes at 450 degrees F. White Soda Bread or Scones with Herbs: Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of freshly chopped herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme, chives, parsley or lemon balm, to the dry ingredients, and make as above. Spotted Dog: Add 3 1/2 ounces sultanas (golden raisins), raisins or currants, or a mixture of all three, to the dry ingredients, and make as above. 

Choose a topic to find related recipes.

Fudge Factor

Train Frontman Pat Monahan's Dark Chocolate Obsession Feb 11, 2013

By: Cameron Curtis

Train frontman Pat Monahan, an avid chocolate lover, shared with us his top five reasons for eating dark chocolate.

Sifted: Plan-Ahead Valentine's Day Desserts Feb 6, 2013

By: Lauren Miyashiro

Get our take on the best in food news, recipes and more from around the web, including the best Valentine's Day recipes.

Review: Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert's Chocolate Bar Nov 16, 2012

Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert have teamed up with master chocolatier Christopher Curtin to create the "Good & Evil" chocolate b …

Over-the-Top-Delicious Treats to Satisfy Your Food Obsession

Are you infatuated with ice cream? Do you lust over lobster? Swoon at the sight of chocolate? Here's the best recipe for each food …

The Craziest Chocolate Creations for American Chocolate Week Mar 17, 2013

It’s officially American Chocolate Week. Check out photos of mind-blowing chocolate creations.

Chocolate Desserts

Indulge in our decadent chocolate desserts, from cookies and cakes to puddings, souffles and truffles.

Essentials: Chocolate Basics Sep 1, 2016

Satisfy that chocolate craving in your very own kitchen. All you need is baking chocolate and a little know-how. It also helps to …