It’s been a busy couple of weeks for bread baking on the site!
Like Kris, I’ve been making a lot of sourdough this year, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to throw something together without having to worry about timing or ambient kitchen temperatures or the strength of your starter. Yeasted breads are a good place to start, but they still require two separate rises, and sometimes you just want something comforting right now. For that, my friends, there’s Irish Brown Soda Bread.
I used to bake soda bread with my roommates in university, back when we could barely cook at all (we ate a lot of cereal for dinner), but we still loved to bake. I remember how the smell used to permeate the apartment, slipping through the cracks and under our doors until we would all congregate in the kitchen, waiting for the loaf to cool enough to eat. Then we’d tear into it like animals, and the whole thing would be demolished (along with a generous amount of butter) in a single sitting.
Quick breads, and soda breads in particular, are wonderful in their simplicity. They use basic pantry ingredients and come together in a flash, without needing any special knowledge or kneading abilities from you. This bread in particular has a real heartiness about it from the whole grain flours. In fact, it resembles a kind of massive whole wheat scone more than it does traditional bread. It’s the kind of treat that’s best enjoyed right when it’s cool enough to slice, with a large mug of tea. And butter — have I mentioned not to skimp on the butter?
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, here’s a handy list of substitutes that will save you a trip to the grocery store. And the rye flour can be swapped out for all-purpose without anything going amiss. If you have 15 minutes and a baking sheet to spare, you can make this loaf!
- 3 cups (415g) whole wheat flour
- ½ cup (60g) rye flour
- 1½ tsp (9g) salt
- 1 tsp (4g) baking powder
- 1 tsp (6g) baking soda
- ½ cup (55g) old fashioned oats
- ¼ cup (56g) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- 1⅔ cup buttermilk
- Preheat your oven to 350F; line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and oats.
- Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Stir buttermilk into dry ingredients until just incorporated. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times, until the dough comes together. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and pat into a circle, about 6-8 inches in diameter. Score the loaf.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time, until the loaf is a dark golden brown, and a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Allow to cool fully on rack before slicing. This bread is actually more easily sliced with a large chef's knife than with a serrated one. If it crumbles, a bit, don't worry -- it will still taste delicious.
Looking for more bread inspiration? Check out these recipes for spelt focaccia with olives and rosemary, pumpkin millet sandwich bread, or these easy grilled flatbreads.
If you make this soda bread (or any of our recipes), let us know by tagging @baked_theblog + #bakedtheblog on Instagram! We love to feel like we’re in the kitchen with you.