Irish soda bread originated during the Famine Years in Ireland and was often the only thing served on the dinner table. Original recipes only contained flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk. Today, almost every meal in Ireland, whether it be a hearty stew or a light salad, is served with soda bread. Every restaurant and every household in Ireland boasts a favorite recipe for this tasty bread. Although the original recipes for soda bread contain only four ingredients, there are 101+ variations of the bread made today. Some like soda bread with honey, sugar, or fruits, while others prefer a savory twist with bran, oats, or seeds. This recipe is slightly sweet with the addition of sugar and honey, but generally holds to the accepted original recipes.
Servings: one loaf
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces + 1/4 cup, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1 + 1/4 cup buttermilk
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the 1/2 cup of butter pieces to the bowl and mix together until the butter is mixed into the flour.
In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the egg, honey, and buttermilk. Slowly add the buttermilk mixture into the butter and dry ingredients, stirring gently.
To a floured work surface, add the dough and knead a few times. Form the dough into a round loaf and place the bread on a prepared baking sheet. Lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife.
Bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes. Check to see if it is done at 30 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, the loaf is done. In the last 15 minutes of baking, brush the loaf with melted butter for a crispier brown crust.
*Feature photo courtesy of http://www.tastespotting.com