Irish Soda Bread

Yield: 1 loaf - depending on slice size, serves 10ish
Source: A family recipe passed to me by Babs.
Amy's Comments: We made this as part of our Irish night cooking club. The bread was AMAZING. I would recommend cooking it a little on the longer side. Ours wasn't quite cooked in the center (even though it rapped hollow on the outside). But the crust - wow!! I will make this again and again!!!

4 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar (optional)
2 cups buttermilk or sour milk

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Sieve the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Scoop up handfuls and allow to drop back into the bowl to aerate the mixture.
  2. Add enough buttermilk to make a soft dough. Now work quickly as the buttermilk and soda are already reacting.
  3. Knead the dough lightly - too much handling will toughen it, while too little means it won't rise properly.
  4. Form a round loaf about as thick as your fist. Place it on a lightly-floured baking sheet and cut a cross in the top with a floured knife.
  5. Put immediately to bake near the top of a pre-heated oven, 450°F.
  6. When baked, the loaf will sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckles. Wrap immediately in a clean tea-towel to stop the crust hardening too much.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:

Healthy Units: 4 per serving (if serving 10 servings)
203 Calories; 1g Fat (4.2% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 41g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 2mg Cholesterol; 391mg Sodium.

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