I saw many recipes last year for Irish soda bread and had wanted to try one but just never got around to it. This year, as expected, all sorts of Irish soda bread recipes started popping up all over the place. This one, in particular, grabbed my attention because 1) it needed only 4 ingredients and 2) it takes about a half-hour from start to finish. These are ingredients that I usually have on hand too, so it earned some bonus points there too!
The bread itself is quite dense and doesn't rise much. It's perfect warm from the oven or at room temperature too. Just slather some butter on it and enjoy with a nice stew or even some chili. If you plan to eat the bread warm, pretty much straight out of the oven, bake it on the longer side (30-ish minutes). If you plan to let it cool completely and eat it an hour or two later, you should be fine with the shorter time (25-ish minutes) since the bread continues baking a bit while it cools.
3 2/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk **
**If you don't have buttermilk on hand you can make your own, easy substitute. Simply add 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Add milk to the measuring cup, filling to the 1 1/2 cup mark. Let sit 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir and use in your recipe.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
Add flour, salt and baking soda to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowing add the buttermilk. Stir with a fork to combine. The dough will be very sticky. If needed, add as much as 1/4 cup extra buttermilk.
Knead the dough lightly with your hands while it is still in the bowl to help it come together. Dump the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and form it into an 8-inch circle. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross in the top of the dough.