Irish Soda Bread (with a twist of honey & sesame seeds)
One of the most easy and quick bread recipes are here. The Irish soda bread is a no yeast bread as it contains baking soda as the leavening agent. This rustic bake is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfect when served with soup or I simply like to top it up with lots of butter and bite into it.
Each baker creates the Irish soda bread with their own twist. Traditionally the bread contains flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt however many bakers add raisins, nuts and seeds to it as well. Today I am going to share a recipe of the traditional Irish soda bread with my twist that brings in honey & sesame seeds, and some more ingredients to make it taste just right.
How does the baking soda work??
Most bread recipes contains yeast as a leavening agent. The Irish soda bread recipe contains baking soda which is a base and buttermilk which is an acid. Both these ingredients react together to form a leavening agent
This recipe also contains butter. Butter is what makes the bread rich and tasty. In this recipe we will be using cold butter exactly in the same manner we use it while making pie crust. We will also be adding an egg to enhance the flavor and texture of the bread. Honey will add to the sweetness and sesame seeds will give it a nutty top.
Some make the Irish soda bread with wheat flour and some with all purpose flour. Wheat flour makes the bread heavy and dense. All purpose flour makes it too light not giving it that crisp outer shell and hollow feel. To make the perfect bread, stick onto using a combination of both flours, 50% wheat flour and 50% all purpose flour
Unlike other bread recipes, you need not knead the dough. Once you have added the buttermilk to the flour, you need to combine it well and not knead it. It should just come together. Refer the image given below as to how you want your mixture to look
While baking this bread make sure to not open your oven often. The top should be golden brown.
How to test if the bread is baked well?? Insert a toothpick in the center of the bread. The toothpick should come out dry. Another way to test if the bread is perfectly baked is to make sure it sounds hollow when tapped from the base. Using a finger tap the base of the bread, it should sound hollow and seem firm. Make sure to place the bread on parchment paper while baking.
If you feel that the top of the bread has become too brown, you can cover the top with an aluminium sheet. This will avoid the browning. I don’t do it as I never find the need to do so
Score the bread : Using a sharp knife, score deeply into the dough (dividing the dough into 4 quarters) This is done to make the heat in the oven enters right into the center of the bread. This will also avoid unnecessary cracks on the bread.
So here’s the detailed recipe with a step by step description to make you bake the bread perfectly well
- 260 grams all purpose flour
- 260 grams wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons castor sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 50 grams cold salted butter, cubed or cut fine
- 390 ml buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon of milk or buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon of melted butter
- 1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds
- In a bowl, combine the flours, castor sugar, salt, baking soda and mix really well until the baking soda is well combined.
- To the flour mixture, add the cold butter cubes and combine it well using your fingers. The mixture should resemble bread crumbs as you combine the cold butter into the flour.
- In another bowl, add the wet ingredients together, buttermilk, honey and egg. Beat well and add this mixture to the flour mixture. Using a whisk or spatula combine the wet ingredients with the dry. You do not need to knead this mixture but just combine all of it till it comes together.
- Lightly dust your kitchen surface with some all purpose flour and bring the mixture to the surface making sure you shape it into a 7 inch round. You do not want to knead it but just shape the mixture well and flatten it a bit like shown in the above image
- Once done, place this dough onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the dough into an X. Refer to the images to do it right.
- For the egg wash, combine an egg yolk with the milk/buttermilk and melted butter. Mix well. Using a pastry brush, brush it onto the top of the dough. Once done, sprinkle some white sesame seeds all over.
- Bake this in a preheated oven at 200 degrees C for 45 to 60 mins or until you get the perfect color and hollow sound once baked (look up to the tips mentioned on the website for perfect baking)
- If you like raisins, add about a handful of them into the dough.
- You can even sprinkle some oats instead of sesame seeds on the top
- For more flavor, brush on more butter once baked but still hot