2000s Recipes + Menus

Downey's Soda Bread

Makes3 (16-inch-long loaves)
  • Active time:30 min
  • Start to finish:2 1/2 hr (includes cooling)
March 2009
Baguette-like loaves make this Irish classic easy to slice, providing perfectly sized portions.
  • 5 cups whole-wheat flour (preferably stone-ground)
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 2 1/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • Accompaniments:

    crème fraîche; jam
  • Preheat oven to 425ºF with rack in middle.
  • Blend flours, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter in a large bowl with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • Stir in buttermilk and eggs until a smooth dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 pieces. Form each piece into a 16-inch-long log and arrange, evenly spaced, on a lightly floured baking sheet. Generously sprinkle with flour and cut 3 diagonal shallow slashes on each log with a very sharp knife.
  • Bake 30 minutes, then reduce oven to 375ºF and continue to bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of a loaf comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  • Transfer loaves to a rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Cooks’ note: Soda bread is best the day it is made, but loaves can be tightly wrapped in 2 layers of foil and frozen 1 month. Refresh, wrapped in foil, in a 325ºF oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.
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