My previous Irish Soda Bread recipe test wasn’t a complete failure but it wasn’t that taste of home that I was looking for either – since then I’ve made 4 more loafs of soda bread trying to perfect the taste the texture. I’ve ended up with two very different recipes that I put head-to-head for a taste comparison.
An Irish Mammy’s Soda Bread
Recipe: This recipe came from Kathy’s mother and it’s an easy recipe to follow:
1 lb all-purpose flour
2 oz of unsalted butter
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of sugar
½ tsp of salt
1 egg beaten
10 oz of buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until it’s combined. Mix in the egg followed by the butter milk. Bake in the oven for 35 mins until the crust is golden brown and the base sounds hollow when tapped.
Modifications: So I said it was an easy recipe to follow right? Yet it took me three attempts at this bread to get it perfect, in attempt one I used low fat buttermilk from Wholefoods (the only one I could find) and regular Kerrygold butter and it was really crumbly and salty. In attempt two I switched to full fat buttermilk and regular Kerrygold butter which gave a much better texture but still a salty taste. Finally in the third attempt I used unsalted butter and full-fat butter milk and it was perfect!
Marks out of 10: 10
Will I make it again?: Definitely
Thoughts: This soda bread is a very hearty loaf, perfect with butter and jam and a cup of hot tea. It tastes like home – if you’ve never tried soda bread before this one is a great recipe to try!
While I was struggling to get the above recipe spot on I starting looking up other soda bread recipes on the internet and came across a website claiming that Irish soda bread was only considered real soda bread if it contained only the following 4 ingredients – flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt. I was intrigued by the sheer simplicity of the recipe and wondered how it would compare taste-wise to the tried and tested Irish Mammy’s soda bread recipe. So I made the two loaves on the same day at the same time and compared them.
Basic Soda Bread
Recipe: The recipe is from DoChara.com and since I didn’t change anything except to half the quantities I won’t re-type it, also within the recipe there are a lot of helpful tips about flour choice and cooking directions so it’s best to read the whole thing.
Modifications: I halved the recipe
Marks out of 10: 9.5
Will I make it again?: Yes!
Thoughts: I was very pleasantly surprised by this loaf. I don’t know why but when I read the recipe I thought “only four ingredients…no way that’s going to taste good” but I was wrong. It tasted delicious and it looked great. It has a very different texture to the other soda bread; it’s lighter and it slices more thinly so it would be possible to use more like and everyday bread.
So which recipe is the winner? For taste of home and rich soda bread taste it has to be the Mammy’s Irish soda bread, but the basic soda bread is a close close second with its light texture coupled with the fact that it’s easily half the calories of the other recipe. Out of the four bread recipes I’ve tried so far I now have 3 that I love and will continue to make time and time again. Good thing these loaves freeze well because that it a lot of bread!