I put a recipe for Irish Brown Soda Bread on this site several months ago after the first time I cooked it and since then it has become part of our staple diet. Of course, the more I cook a recipe, the more I end up fiddling with it so here is my latest variation.
The first change to my basic recipe was when my mother said that she always uses self-raising flour instead of plain flour as it ensures a good rise. It also enabled me to simplify the recipe, reducing the bread soda and cutting out the cream of tartar completely. The Boyfriend being a fan of pumpkin seeds, we had some in the house so I threw in a handful and was very pleased with the result. They add a lot of texture to the bread and are particularly nice when toasted. I’ve also added some wholegrain oats, for a bit of variation! The first recipe will still work, of course, but this is a simpler and, I must admit, an even better one.
Irish Brown Soda Bread – revised recipe
Self-raising flour – 175g
Bicarbonate of Soda – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Wholemeal flour – 300g
Brown sugar – 1 teaspoon
Wholegrain oats – 50g
Pumpkin seeds – 25g
Buttermilk – 400-475ml
Sesame seeds – 1 tablespoon
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F and thoroughly grease a 19 x 11cm loaf tin with a little piece of butter.
Sift the self-raising flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the wholemeal flour, sugar, oats and pumpkin seeds and mix thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in 400ml of the buttermilk. Stir with a wooden spoon to form a loose dough, adding more milk if necessary.
Turn the dough into the tin, leaving the surface rough. Brush with leftover buttermilk from the base of the measuring jug. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Place the tin on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 150°C/300°F and cook for another 30 minutes until the bread is well risen, brown, crusty on top and there’s a hollow sound when you tap the base of the loaf.
Turn out on a wire rack and wrap in a clean tea towel until cold.