This recipe is from the Ballymaloe Bread Book and it’s easy to make. Use freshly chopped herbs to bring out the sweetness of the bread. Great served with soup!
WHITE SODA BREAD WITH HERBS
1 pound plain white, unbleached flour
1 level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon soda, finely sifted
1 dessertspoon (tablespoons) each of fresh, chopped rosemary, sage and chives.
14 fl oz buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Sift the flour, salt and soda into a large, wide mixing bowl. Add the freshly chopped herbs to the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center. Pour most of the milk into the flour. Using one hand with the fingers open and stiff, mix in a full circle drawing the flour in from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be soft, not too wet and sticky. The trick with all soda breads is not to over mix the dough. Mix the dough as quickly as possible, as gently as possible, keeping it really light and airy. When the dough all comes together, turn it out onto a well floured work surface. Wash and dry your hands.
Gently roll the ball of dough around with floury hands for a few seconds, just enough to tidy it up. Then pat it gently into a round about 2 inches high. Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut a deep cross in it, letting the cuts go over the sides of the bread. Then prick the four triangle with your knife. According to Irish folklore, this will let the fairies out! Put into your preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 400 degrees F for a further 25 minutes, or until cooked. When the bread is cooked, it will sound hollow when tapped.