Soda bread is a really traditional Irish recipe. Whenever you go to Ireland, you find it everywhere (known as brown bread) and it tastes fantastic. I remember buying some on my last day in Dublin, wrapping it up carefully and bringing it back home on the flight. When we ate it the next day, it smelled of Ireland.
Sadly, most of it is made from wheat, usually wholemeal, so we hadn’t had it for ages. It is a relatively simple bread to make with no yeast, so adapts itself to gluten free pretty well. Also, when I discovered Innovative Solutions teff flour, I realised that the wholegrain, nutty flavour of the teff was perfect for soda bread.
The raising agent in it is bicarbonate of soda, which reacts with the lactic acid in the buttermilk to form bubbles of carbon dioxide. The buttermilk and the bicarb also give it its distinctive flavour. It’s also really different because of the cross cut in the top. You can either think this helps it bake better or that it lets the fairies out!