The secret to good soda bread is to handle the dough as little as possible to ensure a tender loaf. Best served on the day of making, otherwise it is delicious toasted if keeping for longer. Lashings of good butter with freshly shucked oysters, or smoked salmon and a glass of Guinness make delicious accompaniments.
1⅔ cups plain flour
1⅔ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup instant rolled oats
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, diced
2 teaspoons honey
flat baking tray lined with baking paper
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until it resembles fine crumbs.
Whisk 400 ml of the buttermilk and honey together and add to the dry ingredients. Quickly mix to a soft dough, adding more buttermilk if necessary to bring the dough together.
Tip onto a floured bench and shape into a rough round.
Transfer to the baking tray and make a deep cut crosswise in the top. Dust with a light sprinkling of flour. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until a good golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
For a soft crust wrap the hot loaf in a clean tea towel, otherwise cool on a wire rack. Makes 1 loaf