Saturday 25 May 2013

granny's soda bread

Anyone fancy a little bread-making this weekend. Why not try soda bread. It's so easy and delicious.

Soda bread is actually known as fadge where I come from and is basically a homemade bread resembling a large scone with a cross cut in the top.

I grew up eating this bread baked fresh every day. My favourite accompaniment was stewed rhubarb although butter with a sprinkle of sugar came a close second.

My granny was the queen of soda bread and kindly passed her recipe on to me. I have a long way to go to be as deft at making it as she was but practice makes perfect.

Granny was a little old school when it came to baking and used pretty random methods for quantifying ingredients. This was the original recipe she gave me and the cup and bowl she used for measuring.

I have weighed and measured to give you actual amounts.  There are only three ingredients.

400g self raising flour
300ml buttermilk
1 large egg

Preheat your oven to 165 degrees.

Add the flour to a large mixing bowl. You can sieve the flour to add air but granny didn't bother. She had a light touch. I'll leave it up to you.

Add the egg to the buttermilk and whisk.

Make a little well in the centre of the flour and add most of the buttermilk and egg mixture, about three quarters.

With your hand in a claw shape, fingers slightly bent and spaced out, gently mix until the dough comes together. Add extra buttermilk until you have a good consistency. The dough will be soft and not sticky. Not too wet or too dry and will hold together well in the bowl.

Sprinkle flour on your work surface and turn the bread out. Gently work the dough, bringing it together into a round cake shape. Soda bread is not a yeast bread and should not be kneaded roughly as it will become heavy and tough.

Put the bread on a baking tray and cut a deep cross into the top. This helps the bread cook through.

Bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes. You will know the bread is ready when it has a golden crust and makes a hollow sound when tapped underneath.

Leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy anytime. Soda bread is best eaten on the day it is made but will toast or fry well the day after.

Soda bread can be flavoured. All sorts of things make it more interesting. Some raisins or sultanas, cheese, bacon, herbs. The possibilities are endless.

To make a brown soda, simply use half wholemeal and half self raising flour.

If you have a go, happy bread-making.


  1. This looks lovely! I have made soda bread before, but would like to give your recipe a go. Thanks for sharing.
    M x

  2. I'm looking around my kitchen - I've got flour and eggs - but no buttermilk. Do you think I could try with ordinary milk? I think I'll give it a go. Wish me luck! Jane x

    1. Ooh - I've just checked - apparently I can as long as I add some vinegar to it!

    2. Lemon juice will work too ... Bee xx

  3. Oh what a simple recipe. My grans and mother makes soda bread, can't beat home made soda bread and jam with a big mug of tea.
    Thanks for sharing

    All things nice...

  4. I'll be off to find some buttermilk - dont' fancy the idea of adding vinegar to it instead!

    1. You can add lemon juice to ordinary milk to make a buttermilk alternative ... squeeze in some lemon juice and leave to sit for a while ... I think the buttermilk would be best though ... if you can find some ... Bee xx

  5. Thanks for sharing this recipe Bee - loved your little story about your Granny too. Mel x

  6. This does look pretty yummy x

  7. This looks so good, maybe I can do it too... I'll give it a try and let you know!
    Thanks for the recipe, love from Mirjam.

  8. Yum, that looks great. Definitely going to bookmark your recipe and give it a try. I love the story behind it too - passed down family recipes are always the best, thanks for sharing it.
    Have a lovely weekend,

  9. Fab recipe I must give this a go never baked bread before :)

  10. Looks delicious! Will have to give this a go. (adding buttermilk to the shopping list). Thanks x

  11. I've always wanted to try this. It looks delicious! x

  12. Yay! I made one just now and it's delicious! Thanks Bee!
    You can see the result on my blog....;-) Love, from Mirjam.

  13. I think it's really special the way your granny wrote out the recipe and gave you the measuring cup & bowl :) My granny made a lot of Yorkshire pudding, and when she passed away, my dad handed around the forks she used to mix the batter. The tines were all worn down to nubs! Dad told my daughter these were "magic" forks. love that ;) Enjoy your weekend Bee! Wendy

  14. My mum used to make the wholemeal version in Northern Ireland when we were kids. We called it wheaten bread. Your recipe has inspired me to try to make it myself - I tend to buy the Paul Rankin one you can get over here, but it's not as good as mum's.

  15. It looks so nice... I bet it tastes good too!

  16. Thanks so much for sharing your family recipe, Bee. I love the random measurements! I always think handed down recipes are the best kind, they are little pieces of history. I have never made soda bread but the thought of it with butter and a little sugar..yum. Childhood comfort food. You've sold it to me! xx

  17. I have never made soda bread but would love to make one. I was wondering if I can use regular flour and some baking powder since we don't have self raising flour in our small grocery store. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Angela ... you could probably use plain flour but you would need to add bicarbonate of soda/baking soda to the flour rather than baking powder ... for flavour and the rise ... Bee x


Thank you so so much for taking the time to visit .... it's always really lovely to hear from you.

I love to read your messages .... please stop by again if you've asked me a question or want to chat.

Bee x

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