Don't confuse this bread with Irish soda bread, which is studded with raisins or currants. This one gets its name from the fact that baking soda is used as the leavener, instead of the more usual yeast or baking powder. It also is made moist with the addition of buttermilk instead of regular milk; here, you make your own version by mixing regular milk with lemon juice and allowing it to thicken and curdle and take on the qualities of the real deal.


  • 420 milliliters milk (for buttermilk)
  • 1/2 lemon (juice, for buttermilk)
  • 250 grams French-style bread flour (unleavened)
  • 250 grams whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Pour the milk into a bowl and add the juice of 1/2 a lemon.
  2. Let stand for 10 minutes until it starts to curdle.
  3. In another bowl, combine the French-style bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Mix by hand to combine.
  5. Add the buttermilk and mix with a spoon in a circular motion, just until all the ingredients have blended.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°C.
  7. Sprinkle flour on your work surface and place the dough on top.
  8. Flour your hands, and form the dough into a ball.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour.
  10. Place the ball of dough on the baking sheet, sprinkle with the whole-wheat flour, and use a large knife to make to crosscuts on the bottom.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door.
  12. Remove from oven and give the bread a pat. If it sounds hollow and feels crusty, the bread is ready. If not, bake a few more minutes.
  13. Serve warm with butter.
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