Up The Mountain Soda Bread

Time to get the butter out of the fridge...

When Big Man and I went to Dublin at the end of last year, one of the things we really enjoyed eating was Soda Bread.  It´s a staple they serve with bowls of fish soup (and lots of other things too), it really filled you up on what was a very wet and windy November weekend.

This morning, bread man let me down, but I didn´t mind too much as I had been looking for a reason to use up the whey (or maybe it´s called something else) which came off the yogurt and cream cheese I had made the day before.

I turned to the BBC Good Food Website for a recipe.  I like this site because people like you and me cook the recipes and then give their feedback about what worked and what didn´t.  They´re usually pretty reliable recipes too, and the first one that popped up had 5 stars, so I thought I´d give it a go.

Ingredients called for were:

250g plain flour

250g whole meal flour

100g oats

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

25g butter

500 ml of buttermilk

I substituted my whey for the buttermilk and found that I only needed about 400ml, so add your liquid gradually – much will depend on the absorbency of your flour.

Heat the oven to 180ºC and flour a flat baking tray. Mix the dry ingredients together and then gradually add the liquid until you have a soft and not too wet dough.

Shape it into a round and put in the baking tray then cut a cross in the top. Supposedly this is to let the fairies out (so sweet) but actually helps rising.  And leaves you with lots of little good spirits flying round your kitchen of course!

All the fairies have been let out...

Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped then leave to cool on a baking tray.  I confess, I love this smothered in creamy butter (I don´t eat it very often here, so I feel justified) but it´s just as delicious on its own.

When we were in Ireland, we were also told that if you see a lone tree in the middle of a field, it´s very magical, a fairy tree and brings good fortune.  If I stand on my roof terrace and look across to the field next to our house, we have a fairy tree all our own…so here´s a snap of it.  Am surrounded by the little people today it seems!

Away with the fairies today....!

46 thoughts on “Up The Mountain Soda Bread

  1. I just love the view from the roof – it is magical. With regard to lone trees – I think the fairies own photographic societies because lone trees make up about 90% of their output. Soda bread on the other hand is truly magical – delicious and simple to make. In my previous life I spent a very high proportion of my time taking pictures for BBC Good Food Magazine.

    1. Thse cheeky fairies! It was a very good soda bread recipe, I have to say. Did you get to eat the food you photogrpahed or had it been coated in all sorts of things to make it look sexy and then stood around for hours and hours under hot lights?

  2. Oh my daughter is obscessed with fairies..I have to tell her the story about the tree.
    I have been meaning to try soda bread for sometime..thank you for providing a tried and tested recipe for it 🙂

  3. That is one lovely loaf of bread. And what a good use for the whey… great idea! I think you take today’s “andthenmakesoup” prize (if there were such a thing – perhaps I should initiate it) for “clever use of seeming waste product”! And what a view… I think I’d spend all my time on the roof!

    1. Between dogs, chickens and leftovers which get turned into “tapas” very little goes to waste here! I humbly accept the non existent prize with great pleasure 🙂

  4. I’ve always wanted to try soda bread because you don’t have to do all that waiting and proving! And I’ve always wondered why I was drawn to lonely trees, now I know, it’s the fairies!!

  5. The oats must add a lovely texture and flavour to this bread – I would take a slice of that with a healthy lashing of butter and go find me a lone tree in a field.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy

  6. I love it. Katherine always asks me to take photos of lone trees in fields. She thinks they’re pretty. I also love that you have a bread man. I had long hours a few weeks back and make bruschetta and gazpacho on consecutive nights, but had no time to do a starter. Katherine spent $8 for two loaves of bread. And one was subpar. Anyway, I love this recipe too and I’m rambling! Great tree photo.

    1. There is something rather special about lone trees. The other morning I woke up early (which is unusual for me!) and the tree was standing in a field of mist…I took another snap but it didn´t really do the scene justice. Can´t believe what you had to pay for bread…mind you, I used to pay that in London too and sometimes it disappointed. Hey, real life and work sometimes gets in the way – there´s no avoiding it!

  7. Adorable, I’m going to add little crosses to everything I bake from now on. 🙂 The soda bread sounds delicious, will have to try some!

  8. The bread looks and smells great from here Tanya.
    Here are a few other bread superstitions l found:

    * Make a cross on your dough to let the devil out.
    *Cut bread at both ends and the devil will fly over the house.
    *A paste of bread, pepper and crushed garlic, applied to the face, relieves toothache.
    * If a boy takes the last piece of bread from the plate, he’ll have to kiss the cook.
    *To burn bread can mean that a preacher is coming or that your sweetheart is angry with you.
    *Leave bread and coffee under a house to prevent ghosts from calling.
    * Eating bread baked by a woman whose maiden name is the same as her married name is a cure for many illnesses.
    *If all the bread is eaten at the table, the next day is sure to be fair.
    *Sin-eating was carried out at a funeral, when the sin-eater would eat a loaf of bread and by doing so took the sins of the dead person upon himself.
    *Sailors formerly took a hot cross bun to sea to prevent shipwreck and farmers kept one or two in their granaries as a protection against rats

    I’ll let you know of any others in the future! I went to my local bakers in the village this morning and got my hands on some real yeast. Will be baking tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes but the past few bakes l have added a tray of boiling water in the bottom of the oven whilst baking and it has really improved the bread. Give it a go.

    1. Love, love, love these! The thing about the woman whose maiden name is the same as her married name made me smile as a lot of Big Man´s nephews and nieces have the two surnames which is typical, but they are both the same names as both parents´ fathers had the same first name….no wonder we have so much sunshine! Thanks for letting me know all these lovely superstitions….am just off to put some bread and coffee under the house

  9. I love soda bread and this recipe sounds delicious! I don’t make yogurt but I do make cream cheese, goat cheese, mozzarella, and ricotta. Using the whey for bread making is a good use for something that I’d normally just throw away. Thanks for the recipe and the great idea.

    1. I am heading over to your site to see if you have any posts about the cheeses you make – have only ever managed the cream cheese and a curd cheese. But yes, it´s a great way to use the whey (!)…mind you, my chickens love bread soaked in it, so they lose out 😦

      1. The only cheese recipe listed so far is for ricotta but, trust me, it’s a good one. I had looked into the equipment needed to convert an old fridge in my cellar into a temperature controlled climate, as one would need to make, say, parmesan or cheddar. It’s probably a good thing it died before I did anything more; I would’ve hated to lose a wheel of parmesan

      2. ooh – very nice. We can´t get heavy creame here, so I do it without, but yours sounds much nicer! Best that you didn´t risk the parmesan 😦

  10. That bread looks too good! I agree with you about the BBC good food website. The reviews and ratings for each dish really help you to decide whether something is worth making!

  11. Hi,
    I’ve just discovered your blog!
    My name is Irma and I’m a Spaniard living in Scotland. I made this soda bread recipe a while ago and it turned out great, really rich and tasty but by that time I haven’t started my blog yet. A few weeks ago I made another loaf using another recipe (thinking it was the same one) and it was just ok, I didn’t understand why the bread it wasn’t as good as the first one. When I came across with your post I realized I had been using the wrong recipe!!!

    1. ¡Hola Irma y bienvenida a mi blog! Good to have you here…my what a change for you from Spain to Scotland. Mind you, Scotland is gorgeous, but I love the heat so am happy here in Andalucía! Do give this recipe a go…it works beautifully. ¡Suerte!

  12. Aw, what a sweet post! I love the fairy theory! I have to remember that little story when baking soda bread and spotting lone trees! It seems like I only bake soda bread for St. Patty’s Day and now reading this, I just don’t know why I don’t more often!

  13. Beautiful post! I have never had soda bread in my life! I am going to give it a try!! there is nothing like making your own bread so this time you benefited from your bread man letting you down!


  14. Many Thanks for this recipe, I lived in Wicklow and the Dublin for a while and regularly made soda bread. I perfected my ideal recipe and then lost it. I have wanted to make some since we got to Spain but was stumped in obtaining buttermilk. I did try to make it but used long life milk and it did not work. Recently I obtained fresh milk so I gave it another go (400ml milk – juice of 1/2 a lemon) it curdled immediately and separated. Not exactly buttermilk – I had cottage cheese and whey. So I sent google off in search of the possibility of substituting whey for buttermilk in soda bread. Came up trumps with this recipe, amazingly it worked and is possibly the best I have ever made. I am so pleased to have soda bread on the table again. ♥♥♥ Patrick – Galizano – Spain

    1. Hi there Patrick and thank you so very much for your lovely, lovely comment. Am so pleased you had success with this recipe – it´s always worked well for me! Lidl in Spain sometimes sells buttermilk if that helps, but I prefer it made this way. Do come back and visit the site again soon! Un saudo, Tanya

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