A basic soda bread contains just 4 ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. However, this plain soda bread has been transformed into a lovely golden brown soda bread with raisins by adding a touch of sugar, some golden raisins and butter. The creamy texture of the buttermilk makes this soda bread all so tender. This soda bread is best made the day before or several hours before serving as it tastes best after sitting for a few hours.
3 cups all-purpose flour (375g)
4 tbsp sugar (50g)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter (56g)
1/2 cup raisins, soaked with warm water, drained
Step 1: First Have Ready All the Ingredients Needed to Make This Bread.
Soda bread is made with white flour instead of strong bread flour as the texture of the bread we are aiming for is moist and crumbly, instead of light and airy. However, you can choose to use wholemeal flour instead of white flour if you prefer the dense and wholesome kind. Otherwise, use a combination of white and wholemeal flour.
Buttermilk reacts with baking soda to kickstart the raising process of the bread.
Baking soda and baking powder aid in causing the soda bread to rise.
Season the soda bread with salt and sugar for extra flavour. You can substitute the sugar with honey if desired.
Step 2: Preheat Oven to 165 Degree C (325 Degree F).
Preheating the oven is especially important for baking. By preheating the oven, we allow it time to reach the correct temperature in order to bake the soda bread perfectly. A preheated oven will cook the soda bread all the way to its centre before the outside gets burnt.
In general, the middle of the oven is best for even baking. So placing rack in the centre of oven during baking allows for even baking and overall same baking time.
Step 3: Then Grease a 9 X 5 Inch Loaf Pan With Melted Butter or Baking Spray and Set It Aside.
Using a loaf pan to bake the soda bread will ensure the bread remains moist and doesn't form too hard and dry a crust.
Step 4: In a Large Mixing Bowl, Add in the Sifted Flour.
Sifting flour is a way of aerating the flour so that it's easier to mix in with other ingredients. It can also rid of large lumps or impurities in it.
Step 5: Then Add in the Baking Powder.
Soda bread gets its rise from baking powder. Use the right balance of baking powder, just enough to raise the bread. This is to avoid the bitter tang of the baking powder in the bread.
Step 6: Followed by Baking Soda.
Soda bread also gets its rise from baking soda. Use also the right balance of baking soda, just enough to raise the bread to avoid the bitter tang in the bread.
Step 7: Then Add Salt and Sugar.
Salt and sugar bring out all the flavours and balances the saltiness and sweetness in the soda bread.
Step 8: Using a Whisk, Mix All the Dry Flour Ingredients Together.
Mixing all the dry ingredients will ensure it to be well combined when added with the wet egg and buttermilk mixture.
Step 9: Then Add in the Raisins.
Authentic soda bread does not contain raisins but you can choose to include them if desire. Instead of raisins,you can also use chopped nuts, dried cranberries or currants. Otherwise, leave the soda bread plain.
Step 10: Mix the Raisins Into the Flour Mixture and Set Aside.
Mixing the raisins with the flour mixture will ensure the raisins do not sink to the bottom of the pan when baked.
Step 11: In a Separate Mixing Bowl, Lightly Beat in One Egg.
Adding egg gives the soda bread a cake-like texture, especially if sugar is also added. If you do not like the texture, you can opt not to add in the egg.
Step 12: Then Gradually Add in the Buttermilk.
Buttermilk react with baking soda to kickstart the raising process of the bread. it also gives this loaf a good flavour, a special richness and is key to this bread texture. While you can buy buttermilk, another option is to make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Stir and let it stand 5 to 10 minutes before using.
Step 13: Whisk the Egg and Buttermilk Together Until Well Combined.
Combine well the egg and buttermilk before adding to the dry flour mixture to ensure minimum mixing of the soda bread batter.
Step 14: Pour the WET Egg and Buttermilk Mixture All at Once Into the DRY Flour Mixture.
The trick to a good soda bread is the right amount of moisture in the batter. Too much buttermilk and the top will burn before the inside cooks. If too little buttermilk mixture and the bread will turn out dry. So control the texture of the batter by adding the buttermilk a bit at a time until the flour mixture is JUST moistened.
Step 15: Using a Wooden Spoon or Spatula, Stir the Batter Until It's Just Moistened.
Soda bread needs only the minimum amount of handling so lightly mixed until the flour mixture is JUST fully moistened. Kneading the dough is unnecessary and will actually toughen the bread.
Step 16: Then Stir in the Melted Butter. Blend the Batter Well But Do Not Over Mix.
Stir with fork or wooden spoon until batter is well blended. Do not over mix as this will toughen the soda bread.
Step 17: Pour the Moistened Batter Into the Prepared Loaf Pan. Leave to Sit at Room Temperature for 30 Minutes.
Pour the moistened batter into the prepared loaf pan. Leave to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. This can create an airier loaf.
Step 18: Then Place the Loaf Pan Into the Preheated Oven.
Be sure to preheat oven before putting in the loaf pan to bake.
Step 19: Place the Loaf Pan in Preheated Oven and Bake for 65 to 70 Minutes.
Bake for about 65 to 70 minutes until it's golden brown and it's cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Step 20: Remove the Loaf Pan From Oven to Cool on Wire Rack.
Let the baked soda bread to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes.
Step 21: Then Remove the Bread From Loaf Pan Onto Cooling Rack.
Gently turn the soda bread onto a rack to continue to cool for another 20 minutes.
Step 22: Wrap the Loaf With Foil and Set Aside Overnight for the Best Flavour.
Wrap the soda bread in aluminium foil for at least several hours or overnight to create the best flavour. This soda bread is best made the day before or several hours before serving.
Step 23: Warm Soda Bread Spread With Butter Is a Delicious Treat.
This loaf of soda bread has a dense consistency with a tender, slightly moist interior and is a perfect choice for serving with soup, chili or stew. It has such a soft, moist and crumbly texture and is absolutely perfect when sliced and spread with butter too.
You can also test that the bread is fully baked by tapping the bottom of the pan - it should sound hollow.
This bread is a soft dough, so you must use a bread pan to bake, unlike other soda breads that you can shape into a loaf.
The key to a good soda bread is not to over mix and to add just enough buttermilk into the batter.
Do not cut the baked soda bread right away as it may be gummy in the centre.