LAB NOTES: Irish Soda Bread

Hello everyone, Wayne the Mad Food Scientist here, I’m making Irish Soda Bread today as part of other experiments. In this case vegan fried “egg” with runny “yolk” and vegan bacon. Those experiments will be covered in upcoming posts. I chose Irish Soda Bread today cos it’s quick and easy.
When the Covid-19 lockdown happened in 2020 and stores were hard pressed to keep products on the shelf, I decided to take some of my newly found extra time and bake my own bread. I decided on Irish Soda Bread due to it’s versatility and quick turn around time compared with making yeast bread
There’s tons of “Irish Soda Bread” recipes on the internet.
I chose this one for it’s simplicity, it only calls for four ingredients. Sadly, I cannot recall the site where I found this utilitarian gem. Of course, I’ve tweaked it a bit.
I’ll include instructions on making both buttermilk substitutes so you don’t have to go looking for them.
Hopefully you have the ingredients on hand.

3 1/2 cups/438g flour Today I’m doing half and half. 219g of All Purpose flour and 219g of Whole Wheat flour. Although, I have used all All Purpose flour in the past.
1 tsp baking soda, I used 1 TBSP baking powder since baking powder is what I have on hand, I put in 1 TBSP since to substitue in baking powder for soda it takes about three times as much..
1 TBSP coarse sea salt ( I used Kosher since it is what I have on hand ) or 2 1/4 tsp table salt ( I do not keep that stuff in  my house.)
1 1/2 cups/360g butter milk ( Or buttermilk substitute )  I’ll put how to make two buttermilk substitutes below.

Preheat your oven to 425 Fahrenheit, since I’m using my airfryer to bake I’ll drop that to 405F.
First: Make your buttermilk substitute. Instructions below.
While it is standing at room temperature
Whisk your flour, salt and baking soda/baking powder together.
Make a well in the middle of the mixing bowl and pour in your buttermilk, or buttermilk substitute. Today I’m using milk that I’ve made from split peas as I don’t keep cow’s milk in my house any longer.
Stir until it just comes together.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
Dust your hands with flour.
Knead until it forms a smooth ball.
Dust the outside with flour and ungreased baking sheet is what the recipe says. However, I prefer to line a breadpan with parchment paper and bake it in that.
Take a sharp knife and slash a one inch deep cross on the top of the loaf.
Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown is what the recipe says. However, from previous experience, I up the time to 45 – 55 minutes.
NOTE: In the past when I didn’t use parchment paper. I used an old pizza makers trick. I lightly dust the baking sheet ( Or in my case the bottom of the breadpan ) with a very light dusting of corn meal.
This keeps the dough from sticking to the baking sheet.  You can use this one if you like, or not.  It’s your choice.

Split Pea Milk Buttermilk Substitute


METHOD 1: Milk. This works for both cow’s milk and plant based milks.

1 1/2 cups/360g milk
2 TBSP Lemon juice, distilled white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.

Pour the milk into a measuring cup.
Pour the acid into the milk
Let stand at room temperature for about ten minutes
It should thicken slightly. While you’re waiting for this you can set up the rest of the recipe.
Stir again before adding to the mixing bowl. 

METHOD 2: ( Yoghurt )
1 1/4 cup plain yoghurt. 
1/4 cup water
Put the yoghurt into your measuring cup
pour in the water
Let stand at room temp while you get your other things set up.
Stir again before adding to the mixing bowl.
I’ve done both milk variants. With cow’s milk and with Oatmilk.
I’ve also done the yoghurt variant. Honestly, the bread made with it tasted better.
Although, that was done with cow’s milk yoghurt. I’ll have to make some Oatmilk yoghurt and try it as a buttermilk substitute.

LAB NOTES: 23 April, 2023
I setup the buttermilk substitute first.
I used 360g of Split Pea Milk and Apple Cider Vinegar.
I was really happy with the curdling that occurred with this plant based milk.
Then I weighed out the flours, added teh salt and baking powder.
I chunked up two small onions into the dry ingredients.
I set my Airfryer to preheat 207C/405F and based on previous experience I set the time to 50 minutes.
I whisked the dry ingredients then added in the buttermilk substitute and stirred it with the handle of one of my wooden spoons.
Once the dough came together, I put it on a floured surface and floured my hands.
I kneaded the dough into a smooth-ish ball.
Then I took a parchment paper lined breadpan and put it into the preheated oven.
It came out very nicely. The baking process made the onions taste sweet.

While not my absolute favourite bread, Irish Soda Bread has the advantage of being a bread that can be produced quickly.
It is also tasty. It is also very versatile. It can be savoury, sweet, and everything in between.
If I don’t have time to make yeast bread, this is my go to. Especially, since I stopped buying bread from the store a few months ago.

Give this bread a try, you may like it.

Until next time.

Be well!