One of the kids calls my brown soda bread the “not pretty bread” or the “soup bread.” (That last one because it’s not really best for sandwiches. For that try muffuletta bread!)
But everyone loves it and their eyes light up when they see it resting on the board. Granted, any homemade bread tends to make that happen.
Myself, I like it best with a small pat of real salted butter, maybe a spoon of local jam or some local honey, and a bracing cup of coffee. It’s the simple joys.
Only 35-40 minutes idea-to-table, easy to make, and another recipe that I’ll file under Pantry Simple.
Some people make this with fruit and nuts and what-have-you. Like a quickbread. I like it traditional and plain and everyday kitchen table.
Got Heritage Flour?
Before I start, if you ever get the chance to make this with just heritage wheat flour, locally-grown and lovingly-ground, DO IT! You won’t be sorry. I mean, look at this flour!
We are lucky enough to have friends on a local farm who occasionally bring this to the farmers market. It will make your heart sing. The bread is wonderfully dense and sturdy with a hint of underlying natural sweetness.
“How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like kleenex?”
— Julia Child
Quick & Easy
Start with 4 cups of flour in a nice big mixing bowl. I recommend 2 cups of whole wheat flour plus 2 cups of all-purpose flour.
Sprinkle in a couple of teaspoons of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt. Mix it well. Just toss it with your hand and wiggle your fingers — you don’t even need a spoon if you don’t want one.
Make a well in the middle and pour in 2 cups of buttermilk.
Tip: if you don’t have buttermilk handy, measure out 2 cups of whole milk and stir in a tablespoon of lemon juice, then wait 15 minutes. It’s not the same but it works in a pinch. (Traditionally this was just soured milk or clabbered milk and helped to leaven the bread.)
Stir it up. Bring the dough together by pressing it in on itself over and over (like making biscuits) until you have a doughball that hangs together. Don’t over-knead it.
Shape it into loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or use a silicone baking mat), maybe 2½ to 3 inches high and more-or-less round (maybe a bit less in my case, no worries).
Cut a shallow X in the top to help it cook a bit more evenly. I’ve heard people call this blessing the bread to ward off the evil spirits hanging around the house. Okay. Bonus.
You can also vent each quarter with a smaller X.
Into a preheated 400°F oven for 30-35 minutes. If you thump the bottom of the loaf when it’s done it should sound hollow.
That’s it. Enjoy it warm when you can.
Brown Soda Bread
Brown Soda Bread is pantry simple and a quickly-made perfect complement to soups, stews, or even breakfast. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Mix well the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk. Bring the flour into the well to combine. Press the dough onto itself until combined and a doughball forms.
On a parchment-lined (or use a silicone mat or lightly-greased) baking sheet, make a more-or-less round loaf 2½-3 inch high loaf.
Cut a shallow cross into the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Move to a cooling rack until ready to serve.