Although this bread is identified with the Irish it wasn’t invented in Ireland. According to the Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread (yes, this society really does exist),
“The earliest reference to using soda ash in baking bread seems to be credited to American Indians using it to leaven their bread.” Makes sense to me. One more historical note: The Irish used sour milk instead of the buttermilk in this recipe. I prefer the taste that buttermilk brings to this bread.
This bread is easy to prepare. Because it is not a yeast-bread, it only takes 15 minutes prep time. I like to slice the bread, toast it and enjoy it at breakfast with my coffee. It is also good with butter or jam (or both!). Try spreading a little peanut butter (or any nut butter) on the bread or add a slice of cheese to create an instant protein snack. It is also a wonderful complement to a good vegetarian stew.
3 cups all-purpose flour (whole wheat flour also works well)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg (lightly beaten)
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter (melted)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with vegetable oil and lightly dust with flour. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into loaf pan.
Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack if you have one or leave in the pan but be sure to let it cool before you slice it. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator.