Irish soda bread recipes are amongst the most traditional of Irish recipes. However, there are hundreds of variations on the theme. The original traditional recipe came from Ulster and was a mainstay of the traditional Ulster breakfast. I don't know how this first recipe will match up with what some people consider as a soda bread recipe, but as it's from one of the great names in Irish cooking, Monica Sheridan, it's certainly authentic and traditional.
Where we know the origins of the different recipes, these origins have been acknowledged.
Irish soda bread recipes are very easy to make and are also a great way of introducing children to baking.
4 cups Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 ts Salt
1 1/2 ts Baking soda2 c White flour
2 cups Buttermilk or sweet milk
Mix the whole wheat flour thoroughly with the white flour, salt, and soda. Make a well in the center and gradually mix in the liquid. Stir with a wooden spoon.
You may need less, or more liquid - it depends on the absorbent quality of the flour. The dough should be soft but manageable.
Knead the dough into a ball in the mixing bowl with your floured hands.
Put on a lightly floured baking sheet and with the palm of your hand flatten out in a circle 1 1/2 inches thick.
With a knife dipped in flour, make a cross through the center of the bread so that it will easily break into quarters when it is baked.
Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake a further 15 minutes.
If the crust seems too hard, wrap the baked bread in a damp tea cloth.
Leave the loaf standing upright until it is cool.
The bread should not be cut until it has set - about 6 hours after it comes out of the oven.
From "The Art of Irish Cooking" by Monica Sheridan
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together bread flour, salt, and baking powder until thoroughly combined. Beat in the butter, buttermilk, and confectioners' sugar to make a dough; gently mix in the onion and Cheddar cheese.
Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a ball. Place the loaves onto the prepared baking sheet, and gently flatten to about 2 inches thick. Dust each loaf with flour.
Bake on a preheated oven until browned, about 30 minutes. Cool on racks for a few minutes; serve warm.