Wholemeal Irish Sodabread

I tried for years to recreate the traditional soda bread I ate in Ireland. This is it - just don't bother with it unless you get an Irish wholemeal rye or similar flour.


1. Coarse wholemeal flour, available online at www.foodireland.com. Be forewarned: between the minimum order and the shipping you'll pay a lot for a few bags of flour. But do check the site for tea cookies, treacle, and other Irish goodies.

2. A scale for measuring the flours. I like the Salter digital ones.

3. Semolina or cornmeal for dusting the pan or peel.


4. Kerrygold or a similar high-butterfat European butter is nice for the dough and for serving alongside

Pizza peel and stone. You'll feel like such a pro sliding your loves in and out of the oven.METHOD


Preheat oven to 400°

In a medium mixing bowl, combine:

  • 10 oz. coarse wholemeal flour

  • 6 oz. all-purpose flour

  • 1 t baking soda

  • 1 t salt

Work in with your hands (rubbing in with fingers):

  • 1 oz. unsalted butter

Stir in gently but thoroughly:

  • Between 1 and 1 ½ cups buttermilk

When the dough just comes together, turn it out onto a baking sheet dusted with semolina (or a cast iron pan, or onto a dusted pizza peel).

Use a sharp knife to cut a cross into the top. Dust the top with a small handful of wholemeal flour and place in the oven.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when you thump the bottom.

If all this sounds too complicated, see the scone-like version with raisins and caraway seeds here.