Irish Soda Bread

It's difficult to imagine anything better with a hot cup of tea to be honest. At this time of year recipes for Soda bread abound. Some studded with fruit and others rich with wholemeal, all of them rugged and tempting. They always look like a giant scone to me and there are certainly similarities to the dough.

sodabreadtin

I made this warm smelling loaf this weekend and had to give half of it away, because I knew if I kept it in the house there was no doubt at all that I would end up eating most of it.
First sitting we had it straight from the oven with salty butter melting over it. It was part of a ploughmans lunch, not a traditional bread for that kind of meal but a wonderful addtion nonetheless.

sodabreadtin

Second helping was cold witha sliver of cheese and tomato on it. Third helping was the day after with a fat sliced popped in the toaster and then slathered with butter and a dollop of jam and a hot cup of tea.

I thought I would try a new recipe this year and I think this is one of the better ones. You know that feeling when you try something and you just know it's going to be hard to improve on it because it's already perfect as it is.

Simple Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 220C 425F.
Grease and flour an 8-10 inch round round cake pan.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
Gradually stir in the buttermilk until the dough comes together in a slightly sticky ball.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead gently a few times.
Form the dough into a ball and then press into the prepared pan so that the dough resembles a large disk. The dough should reach the edges of the pan, but may spring back slightly.
Cut an X into the dough with a sharp knife, about 1/4 of an inch deep. Cover the pan of dough with another round cake pan turned upside down.
Bake for 30 minutes, covered, then remove the top pan and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes more or until the crust is dark golden brown.
sodabread