How to Make Irish Soda Bread With Whole Milk

Updated on January 10, 2019
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Eugene writes a variety of articles on the HubPages Network of sites, covering topics such as gardening, DIY, photography, and electronics.

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Can I Make Soda Bread Without Buttermilk?

Yes, you can! This recipe for brown soda bread uses whole milk (also called full cream milk) as an alternative, but you can of course use buttermilk if you have access to it.

Soda bread is a quick bread that uses buttermilk and baking soda (a.k.a. bread soda) as leavening agents, rather than yeast. This recipe uses minimum ingredients and can be easily prepared in 15 to 20 minutes, with a cooking time of 35 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (500g) whole brown flour
  • 350 ml (1.5 US cups or 12.5 fluid ounces) whole milk, or buttermilk
  • 1 rounded teaspoon baking soda (bread soda)
  • 1/2 level teaspoon salt
  • 5 dessertspoons vinegar

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yields: 6 servings

Oven Temperature

  • For a fan oven: 374 F or 190 C
  • About 20C higher for a non-fan oven

What's a "Leavening Agent"?

A leavening agent is used to raise sponge and bread and make it more fluffy. Leavening agents produce carbon dioxide gas (CO2) which expands and makes the mixture lighter and porous. Yeast can be used as a leavening agent but an alternative is to use an acid and alkali as ingredients which generate CO2 as a byproduct when they combine in a chemical reaction. Baking soda (alkali) and buttermilk (containing lactic acid) are common raising agents but you can also use vinegar which contains acetic acid.

Instructions

  1. Weigh out 1 pound (500g) of whole brown flour and empty it into a mixing bowl. You don't need to sieve it unless it's very lumpy.
  2. Measure out 12 1/2 fluid ounces (350ml) of milk into a jug and add 5 dessert teaspoons of vinegar. Stir and allow to curdle. Alternatively, use buttermilk without the vinegar. If you're using a loaf tin, you can use up to 400ml of milk, which makes a sloppier mixture.
  3. Add a rounded teaspoon of baking soda to the flour and thoroughly dry mix with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the milk to the flour and thoroughly mix, ensuring all the flour is wetted.
  5. You can bake on a tray or in a loaf tin. A loaf tin has the advantage of containing the mixture and keeping it from spreading if it's overly sloppy. If using a tray, sprinkle it with flour to keep the bread from sticking.
  6. Add flour to stiffen, or more milk if the mixture is a little too dry. The objective is to produce a mixture that will hold its shape on a baking tray without spreading out during baking.
  7. If you wish, you can spoon out the mix onto a floured working surface and knead it into a flattened ball. If you don't want to get your hands dirty, spoon the mix out onto the baking tray and shape and pummel it with the wooden spoon and a dessert spoon until it's approximately round. Smooth the top with a dessert spoon (a little oil helps to keep the spoon from sticking).
  8. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes at a temperature of 374 F (190 C) until the bread starts to brown. If you don't have a fan oven you may need to increase the temperature by 10-20 degrees C.
Measure out 1 lb of whole brown flour into a bowl. Add 1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda
Measure out 1 lb of whole brown flour into a bowl. Add 1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda | Source
After dry mixing, add the curdled milk or buttermilk and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
After dry mixing, add the curdled milk or buttermilk and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon. | Source
Spoon out onto a floured baking tray and shape with a dessert spoon and wooden spoon. Alternatively, knead into a flattened ball on a work surface before transferring to the tray.
Spoon out onto a floured baking tray and shape with a dessert spoon and wooden spoon. Alternatively, knead into a flattened ball on a work surface before transferring to the tray.
Bake for 35-40 minutes in a fan oven at 374 F (190 C).
Bake for 35-40 minutes in a fan oven at 374 F (190 C). | Source
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You can also bake this bread in a medium size loaf tin. The advantage is the mixture can be more sloppy, without spreading all over the baking tray and the bread will be moister.
You can also bake this bread in a medium size loaf tin. The advantage is the mixture can be more sloppy, without spreading all over the baking tray and the bread will be moister. | Source

What Other Ingredients Can be Used in Soda Bread?

Want to try something different? Instead of using 1lb of wholemeal flour, use a 50/50 mix of flour and some or all of the following:

  • Rolled oats
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Milled linseed
  • Sesame seeds
  • Ground almonds

I've found that the coarseness of some of these ingredients seems to reduce the extent to which the bread rises, so you could try experimenting with blending them before mixing.

Rolled oats
Rolled oats | Source

Cast Your Vote!

5 stars from 2 ratings of Brown Soda Bread With Whole Milk

© 2018 Eugene Brennan

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    • eugbug profile imageAUTHOR

      Eugene Brennan 

      1 minute ago from Ireland

      Hi Geri. I use malt vinegar, but you can probably use any type e.g. apple cider vinegar. The mix rises about 20% to 30%. I still haven't figured out how to get it to rise to the extent that off-the-shelf bread mixes do. Possibly they use cream of tartar. I've also used buttermilk, but it doesn't rise much more. In any case, soda brown bread tends to be more solid than overly fluffy.

    • gerimcclym profile image

      Geri McClymont 

      12 minutes ago

      This looks good and I would like to try it. What kind of vinegar do you use?

    • eugbug profile imageAUTHOR

      Eugene Brennan 

      5 days ago from Ireland

      Thanks Louise. I make this now in a rectangular loaf tin. The mixture can be more sloppy and there's not kneading or shaping required. Also it's easier to cut the bread.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      5 days ago from Norfolk, England

      I like the look of this. It looks easy to make and looks lovely too. Thanks for the recipe. =)

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