People think making bread is hard. People are wrong. There’s nothing quite like kneading your own dough, leaving it to flourish and then filling your house with the wonderful smells of freshly baking bread as it turns from an apologetic beige to a thing of golden, crusty beauty.

There is nothing mysterious or bewildering about it once you have the tools and knowledge at your disposal. Here’s the simplest of recipes to get you started.

Irish Buttermilk Soda Bread


  • 170g/6oz self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 170g/6oz plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 290ml/½ pint buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6.
  2. Tip the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk, mixing it together quickly to form a soft dough. If the dough seems too sticky throw a little more flour into the mix; Don’t be scared. The dough should be a malleable, firm texture that leaves no residue on the prep surface.
  4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
  5. Form into a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet.
  6. Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 35 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack and serve with lots of salted butter.
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