This was my third try at soda bread. Soda bread is easier and faster to make than regular bread since it requires no kneading and no time to rise. Actually the hard part is getting it put together fast enough.
When I made my first one I thought I did it wrong since it looked ugly. Actually, it looked like it should have. Here are some of the videos I used to make sure I was doing it right:
The first soda bread I made was with all white flour. This made it very delicious and almost sweet (soda bread can really be described as a giant scone). The one shown in the picture uses 20% wheat flour giving it a nuttier whole wheat flavor.
Here is the recipe I have been using and modifying:
By the way, this uses metrics so if you want to give it a go, just switch your scale to metric. If you are willing to start using metrics you will find it is easier than the easier to use then the standard system. If you are not comfortable with this specific recipe find one that only uses flour, salt, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda as the British call it), and buttermilk to start.
Soda bread rises when an acid (buttermilk) contacts a base (baking soda). It is like making those vinegar baking soda volcanoes in school just much less violent. As soon as you add the buttermilk to the flour mixture it starts reacting and this is why you are not supposed to really knead it. If you take too long to get it into the oven it will not rise because the acid/base will be done reacting.
My next experiments are going to include making it with even more wheat flour and ordering an Irish flour online so I can make actual Irish Soda Bread.