My husband is Irish and one of his favorite foods is Irish Soda Bread. It's not terribly difficult to find this brown bread in grocery stores, however nothing beats a fresh loaf straight from the oven. I've tried several different recipes, from complex to easy variations. Ultimately this is a mix of several elements from multiple recipes and not only is it easy, but it totally works and tastes the way Irish Soda Bread should. I love to eat this when it's fresh from the oven and still warm, at room temperature or days later toasted with butter. It's a great bread for breakfast, goes really well with smoked salmon and it's also the perfect accompaniment to a hot bowl of soup.
This recipe is super easy, so don't be intimidated. There's no yeast, proving or kneading. It's also worth noting that while many recipes call for white flour or strong white bread flour, this recipe doesn't have any white flour… Only whole grain and also porridge oats (or oatmeal as we say in the USA).
1/2 cup (100g) porridge oats [not instant] plus more for dusting the top of the loaf
1 3/4 cups (400g) wholemeal flour
2 1/2 teaspoons Maldon salt flakes or other sea salt flakes
2 teaspoons baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
300ml Guinness beer
150ml full fat plain yoghurt (not Greek style)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons honey
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) while you make the dough.
- Mix the oats, flour, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl with a whisk. Form a well in the center of the mixture as though you're making muffins and set aside.
- In another bowl, mix the Guinness, yoghurt, oil and honey with a whisk.
- Pour all the liquid ingredients into the well in the center of the dry ingredients all at once (just like you're making muffins). Stir very well with a rubber spatula for a while until the baking soda stars to react and the mixture becomes very dense and hard to stir.
- Line a loaf pan with baking parchment leaving plenty of slack around the edges and pour the dough into the loaf pan and sprinkle the top with a generous dusting of porridge oats.
- Bake the loaf in the oven for 50 minutes or until a cake tester or uncooked piece of spaghetti is inserted into the bread and comes out clean.
- When it's done, remove the loaf from the oven and leave to cool slightly in the loaf pan. Cover with a tea towel as it cools - this will prevent the crust from getting too tough. Allow the bread to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.
- When you're ready, use the slack of the parchment paper to lift the loaf out of the pan. Slice, eat and enjoy!
Should you have leftovers, keep the bread in a sealed tupperware or plastic ziplock bag. I generally keep this for about 5 days. As it gets a little older and loses some of its freshness, you may find it tastes best toasted.
Do you have any favorite bread recipes? I'd love to hear about the breads you most enjoy baking!