You may know this bread as an Irish Soda bread, and it’s true. Soda bread is one of the traditional bread in Ireland; some dream of Paris and me… Well, The Ring of Kerry. You see, Ireland is on my top 5 list of must-visit destinations. I just love it!
OK! Back to the bread! Soda bread is also traditional in Serbia, and of course, loved all over the world. Soda bread is probably the easiest bread, the basic of the basics and I cannot see anybody being unsuccessful in making it. The nontraditional person, like myself, I know quite a lot about traditions.
Maybe because I moved so much and met many amazing people with of course different backgrounds, then I got really interested in comparing and came to realize how same, but different we are even if we live in the same region. It all depends on the household tradition that might be passed on from generation to generation.
History is something that I love digging into, although I am aware that some facts could be based on legends and myths, but it’s like connecting dots or putting together a puzzle in finding the right answer, or at least the closest one.
I think I mentioned that before in more than one post, but it is fascinating to find roots where certain food/dishes coming from, and how people are preparing it from one country to the other. I could go on and on about this topic, but I will try to keep it as brief as possible.
Bread was, and it will always be a staple of every European household. It is eaten with every meal, and to be quite honest, I feel like a meal is not a meal without the bread.
In Serbia, Soda bread or pogača (po-ga-cha) have been in households, some say as early as Medieval period, but I believe that’s not quite true because baking soda was actually introduced to Europe around mid 19th century.
Just like in Ireland, Serbs and people of Orthodox religion traditionally cut the cross on top of the bread with a knife before baking it -superstitious beliefs are that it will protect the household from the evil.
There are many rules and rituals about this particular bread around Orthodox Christmas, which falls on January 7th -following the Gregorian calendar.
It is eaten on the Christmas day, and if I go through all the rituals it would take some time to explain everything, but here is a fun fact: Lady of the house would place a Coin in the bread dough before baking and whoever finds it on a Christmas day, it was believed that fortunate person will have good luck throughout the year.
Head of the household would break the bread (it’s never cut with the knife) and meant to be shared among family, and friends, especially during celebrations.
Watch my video on youtube how to make: IRISH SODA BREAD
Quick Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups about 500g All-purpose Flour +for dusting/kneading
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 3/4 tbsp. Baking soda
- 1 large egg*optional
- 2 cups 16 FL Oz/473 ml Cold Buttermilk
- Oil for greasing the pan
- Preheat the oven on 375°F /190°C
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix an egg and add it to the flour.
- Add buttermilk, a cup at the time and mix it with a wooden spoon just enough to bring it together, then dust your working area/countertop, and knead it just until you form a ball. Do not apply too much pressure as you would when you knead a bread. Dust the dough with more flour, if needed. Form a dough ball.
- Oil the pan and transfer the dough in the baking pan, cut a cross on top, almost going all the way through.
- Bake for 40 minutes, depending on your oven. If you like the crust crunchy leave it in the oven for up to 45-50 minutes. You'd know that is done if you take it out of the oven and hit the bottom or the top of the bread and it sounds almost hollow.
- Allow it cool down under a clean kitchen towel, preferably on a cookie rack. I like it really warm, so I keep it for nearly 10 minutes. If you want a bread for the next day, and softer, after it is cooled down, wrap it in a plastic foil and then cover the bread with the kitchen towel.
An egg is optional! You can use it, but it is not necessary.