Although it’s lovely, the soda bread you see in stores around St. Patrick’s day every year isn’t traditional. The rich, sweet bread with raisins may be based on Irish soda bread, but the real deal is much simpler and is meant to pair with meals rather than be a meal unto itself.
1.5 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1.5 c. buttermilk
Optional: 2 tbsp. caraway seeds
Preheat oven to 425F.
Mix dry ingredients together, then add 1 c. buttermilk and stir until dough begins to come together. Do not use your mixer for this, because you want to stir as little as possible to avoid making the dough tough. Drizzle in enough buttermilk so you can form a ball with the dough. It is OK if you do not use all the buttermilk.
Lightly flour your work surface and turn the ball of dough out onto it. Knead just until the ball holds together and has a smooth surface. Shape into a boule and place on a sheet of parchment paper on your baking sheet. Cut a big X into the top and bake about 35 minutes, or until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when you rap your knuckles on its bottom. Serve immediately with any and every delicious, comforting Irish savory dish. Slather liberally with butter if you so desire.