The summer I turned six, I went to Ireland for the first time to celebrate my grandparent’s 50th anniversary.
Nine years later, on another trip, Granny Kelly taught me how to make Irish Soda Bread. There are innumerable variations on the rustic loaf, but I make mine the way Granny taught me – with the occasional slight variation.
These individual loaves are one such.
They are slightly lighter than the soda bread I usually make, but this is better with the smaller loaves I think. They make a nice change from yeast-based rolls, and are super quick to put together.
Buttermilk makes for a less dense bread, but you can substitute sour milk or yogurt (thinned with some milk) if you have no buttermilk.
A cross cut on the top of the bread will allow your bread to rise well as it bakes and will also (according to legend) keep the devil from stealing it when done.
After removing the loaves from the oven and placing on a cooling rack, cover them with a clean tea towel until serving time to soften up the crusts a bit.
- 1-1/4 cups / 310 ml all-purpose flour
- 1-1/4 cups / 310 ml whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml wheat bran
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml salt
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml baking soda
- 1-1/4 cups / 310 ml buttermilk or sour milk
- 1/3 cup / 80 ml oatmeal
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 177 degrees C.
In mixing bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, bran, salt and baking soda.
Add buttermilk and stir until the dough begins to form a ball.
Use hands to mix any remaining flour into dough. (If necessary, add an extra 1-2 tablespoons of buttermilk to absorb any remaining flour.)
Form dough into a smooth ball.
Turn dough onto cutting surface, and divide into 8 even pieces. Form each piece into a ball and roll in oatmeal.
Place balls on a baking sheet and flatten to about half their original height. Cut a cross on top of each loaf and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until browned and the loaves can be easily removed from the baking tray without sticking.
Place loaves on a cooling rack and cover with a clean tea towel until ready to serve.